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an American Family 

in the Holy City, 1881-1949 

Bertha Spafford Vester 

Introduction by LOWELL THOMAS 

Doubleday & Company, Inc. 
GARDEN CITY, N. Y. 1950 






This book is dedicated to 

Father s and Mother s nine grandchildren 

MAR 2 8 1950 


LIFE in the American Colony of Jerusalem during the last decade 
was tranquil although surrounded by political turmoil- Our consuls 
were friendly. Religious leaders understood us better. Perhaps we had 
become less of an enigma, and perhaps Jerusalem had changed. Mod 
ern Jerusalem accepted us at our value. The old stories cropped up 
now and then, but were turned aside with oh-that-used-to-be looks, 
which hurt worse than accusations when one thought of the robust 
Christianity of the Colony s founders which allowed "no room for self- 
pity, * as Mother expressed it, at the most crucial moment of her life. 

It was during this time that I began work on the record of my par 
ents* experiences in Jerusalem and elsewhere which would serve as a 
record for my children and grandchildren. I have taken five years 
writing it, part of which was done while we were under fire in the 
recent war against the partition of Palestine. Preceding this I had 
worked for fifteen years gathering material incorporated in its writ 
ing, and for such contributed data, letters and memoirs, newspaper 
accounts and testimonials, legal, ecclesiastical and historic, I am in 
debted to more friends in the United States, the Holy Land, and 
England than I have space to acknowledge, but whose kindness and 
interest have contributed greatly to this account of our lives in Amer 
ica and Jerusalem, 

I should like to express my public appreciation to Mr, Lowell 
Thomas, author, lecturer, and radio commentator, whose friendship 
over many years has meant much to the American Colony in Jerusalem 
and to me, and who was the first to suggest that I turn into a book my 
private family record by which others might see the Holy City as it has 
seemed to us for nearly seventy years. 

To Dr. Millar Burrows, Winkley Professor of Biblical Theology at 
the Divinity School of Yale University and late Director of the Ameri 
can School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, I am deeply grateful 
for whole-hearted encouragement and advice* 

My gratitude is also extended to the Rev, Charles T. Bridgeman, at 
present connected with Trinity Church, New York, formerly Canon 
of St. George s Cathedral in Jerusalem, who has given unstintedly of 
his twenty years experience in Palestine, particularly in church mat 

I also wish to thank Miss Evelyn Wells for her help. 



INTRODUCTION By Lowell Thomas 

FOR years my wanderings took me to many parts of the world. 
In the course of these travels I met a fair proportion of the unusual 
personalities of our time statesmen, explorers, soldiers, scientists, 
missionaries, writers, mining men, merchants, and artists. When a 
traveler thinks of mountain ranges, certain peaks stand out in his 
mind Kinchinjunga in the Himalayas; Aconcagua in the Andes; 
Saint Elias and McKinley in Alaska; Demavend in Persia; Chomolari 
in Tibet; Rainier in the Puget Sound country; Mount Washington in 
New England, and a dozen more in various lands- Looking back on the 
people I have met, a few are like the mountains I have mentioned. 
One of these is the author of this book. 

Of all the remarkable personalities I have known, Berfha Vester is 
one of the few that I have envied. 

To me Jerusalem is the most dramatic of the cities of this earth, 
more so even than Athens, Rome or Paris. And Berfha Vester is lie 
only outstanding person who has lived there, both as an observer and 
a participant in events, under the Turkish sultans, through World War 
I, the period of the Mandate, a second world war, and finally the 
period of the return of the Children of Israel. What a panorama! 

Since the days when Dr. John Finley, famous editor of the New 
York Times, and I, first met her in Jerusalem, I have been urging her 
to write the story of her life. For thirty years I have conducted this 
campaign, in person and by correspondence. Always she was too busy 
with her social-service work in the Holy City, too involved with her 
educational problems and with trying to save children from disease 
and starvation. She is a modem Florence Nightingale, with a more 
colorful and romantic story. Through three generations she has been 
a central figure in the life of the city that is sacred to three great reli 
gions, Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism. 

It was a sheet from one of her hospital beds that provided the white 
flag used at the surrender of Jerusalem when, in 1917, a Christian 
army entered the Holy City for the first time in nearly a thousand 
years. Although called the City of Peace, Jerusalem has nearly always 
been a city of violence. As one of the few Protestants in Jerusalem, 
she has had a unique opportunity to watch the pageant of history un 
roll. Nearly all other prominent personalities who have spent any time 
at all in that city atop the Judean Hills "aloof, waterless, and on the 



road to nowhere," have been on either one side or the other in some 
bitter struggle. As a social-service worker, Bertha Vester has been 
unique in the sixty-five years of her life in the Holy City. 
^ I haven t read her manuscript. Therefore I know little of her at 
titude toward recent events. But I do know that in times when emo 
tions run high partisans on either side invariably say: "Well, if you 
are not /or us, you must be against us." However, that sort of charge 
should never be made about either an honest reporter or social worker. 

During the hottest part of the recent fighting between the Jews 
and the Moslem inhabitants Mrs. Vester found herself in a dilemma. 
One of the elderly members of the American Colony had died during 
the night. The battle was raging across the road between Mrs. 
Vester s home and the cemetery on the Mount of Olives. However, 
she solved this problem. She got in touch with the officers in com 
mand on both sides and asked them if they would be good enough 
to stop the battle for two hours. They did. She buried the aged mem 
ber of the American Colony on the Mount of Olives, and then the 
fighting began again. 

On another occasion, in 1947, some of the Arab forces took up 
positions around Mrs. Vester s house and in the compound of the 
American Colony. From there they were firing on a Jewish convoy 
that apparently was on its way to Hadassah Hospital. She told them 
that she would not ajlow it. They could shoot her if they wished, but 
as far as it was within her power she would not allow an attack to be 
made upon anyone from the American Colony which for more than 
sixty years had kept its doors open to Moslem, Christian, and Jew. 
She told them: "To fire from the shelter of the American Colony is 
the same as firing from a mosque or church." 

I remember Field Marshal Lord AUenby s admiration for her, of 
how highly she was regarded by T. E. Lawrence, of her close friend 
ship with John Finley when she helped him with his Red Cross work 
in the Holy City. I have sat spellbound at her feet, in Jerusalem, lis 
tening to her tell of her adventures. And I have long admired her un 
selfish devotion to the inhabitants of the Holy City, to all of its many 
races and creeds. Hers is indeed one of the epic stories of our time. 



A FEW months before the Great Chicago Fire, Father came to 
the conclusion that the law, while highly remunerative, was absorb 
ing too much of his time, 

He had no idea of giving up his practice. He was senior partner 
in the prominent and influential Chicago firm of Spafford, McDaid 
and Wilson, and was considered an authority on national as well as 
international law. "Horatio Spafford lives in jurisprudence," Mr. 
Luther Laflin Mills, one-time states attorney for Illinois, once told 
me. "We still say in Chicago, That s a Spafford case! 9 or, That be 
longs to the Spafford school of law, " 

But Father became convinced that dealing in real estate would 
give him opportunity to achieve honorable success without being 
wholly engrossed by it and also give him more time to devote his 
attention to philanthropic and Christian work, particularly that being 
started by his close friend the evangelist, Mr. Dwight L. Moody. 

With this idea in mind, in the spring of 1871 Father, with several 
of his friends, invested in land in the direction of which the city of 
Chicago was expanding land which is now part of Lincoln Park 
and other extensive tracts north of the city, on the Lake Shore. 

They put all their available money, and borrowed more to enlarge 
their holdings, into this project that seemed sound. 

At this time he and Mother were living in the suburb of Lake 
View, on the north side of Chicago, in a vine-covered gabled cottage 
surrounded by twelve acres of lawn. They had four little daughters. I 
think of these children as my "little sisters" although this was before 
I was bora. Anna, named for our mother, was nine. Margaret Lee, 
aged seven, was named after Father s favorite sister, whose husband, 
Colonel Arthur T. Lee, had been seriously wounded in the Battle of 
Gettysburg a few weeks before Maggie was born. Elizabeth, called 
Bessie, was five, and in July the fourth little girl was born and named 
Tanetta for our grandmother, who came from Norway and died when 
Mother was a little girl. 

Lake View was some distance from the city limits, but the family 
were sublimely happy in their isolation. Their nearest neighbors were 


Mr. and Mrs, Henry Waller, whose residence in rolling lawns, similar 
to their own, inspired Chicago s beloved poet Eugene Field to write 
"The Delectable Ballad of the Waller Lot." 

Every day Father went to his law office in the city and was driven 
to and from the little station by Peter the houseman in a buggy drawn 
by old Billy the horse. 

A narrow-gauge steam train, known as "The Dummy," carried 
commuters in and out of Chicago. There were no telephones, and 
when Father brought dinner guests home, as he often did, there was 
no way of letting Mother know beforehand. Since the last "Dummy" 
left early in the evening, a dinner guest usually meant one staying 

Father and Mother drew devoted friends about them who shared 
the joys of their home life and who in the years to come gave them 
the love and devotion that sustained them in dreadful sorrow. Also, 
to the Lake View cottage came the weary of body and soul, for my 
parents were incapable of denying any share of their worldly goods 
or happiness to anyone who might be in need. 

Martha Pirkens Halsey wrote in an article: 

One of the most attractive places in the old township of Lake View in 
the seventies was a residence ivy-hung and tree-embowered that 
seemed in its surroundings the chosen abode of peace and happiness. 
The house, a picturesque, irregularly shaped cottage, not far from the 
Lake Shore, displayed in each nook and corner a rare taste and refine 
ment. Grace, simplicity, and beauty everywhere prevailed. . . . 


This was the home of my father and mother, Horatio Gates Spaf- 
ford and Anna Lawson Spafford, who were to become the founders 
of the American Colony in Jerusalem. 

The love and faith in that cottage were to cross the Atlantic and 
become incorporated in the American Colony. Also in the Colony 
was to go such strangely unrelated events as the Great Chicago Fire, 
the Moody and Sanky religious revival that was shortly to sweep two 
continents with unprecedented spiritual fervor, and the shipwreck of 
the Ville du Havre that is still one of the unexplained tragedies of the 

All that summer and fall of 1871 an unusual degree of heat pre 
vailed in Chicago, and the rainfall was so slight as to give scientists 
cause for much speculation. Forest fires of extraordinary extent 
ravaged the Northwest, destroying the vegetation and even whole 
communities, especially around the southern border of the Great 
Lakes. Early in the fall high southwest winds began blowing and 


continued for weeks, parching the prairies near Chicago and every 
piece of timber within and around the city. 

During the first weeks of October there was a continual succession 
of small fires in the city. 

Father was in Indiana interviewing a prospective purchaser for 
some of the Lake Shore property. He was there on October 8, 1871, 
when the knell of desolation sounded across the American continent 
in gigantic headlines: 





There was no more thought of a sale. Father s only thought was 
to rush back to Chicago. 

Mother, left in the Lake View cottage with four small children, 
three house servants, and Peter, the man of all work, was not alarmed 
for their own safety in the beginning. As she watched from the porch 
of the cottage she could see Chicago rising like a pillar of fire in the 
night. Lake View lay well outside the city, still the stretch of forest 
between was tinder-dry after the long, hot summer. The glare light 
ing lake and sky was terrifying, and adding to the terror were the 
explosions that continued to shake the burning city for days and that 
could be heard for many miles. 

Chicago, roused from sleep, was trying to escape from itself. 

Torrents of people were fleeing its blazing streets and struggling 
over flaming bridges to the country. Tragedy piled on tragedy in the 
stricken city. 

As mile after mile of wooden buildings, homes, stores, and side 
walks caught fire, the glaring illumination showed a city gone mad 
with terror. Crowds of men, women, and children ran first in one 
direction, then in another, shouting and screaming, saving objects, 
no matter how worthless, carrying them, losing them again. Every 
explosion that shook the city added to their panic. 

Drays, express wagons, handcarts, trucks, and every imaginable 
conveyance was being driven pell-mell through the crowded streets, 
laden with trunks, boxes, furniture, goods, and papers of every kind. 
Collisions happened every minute. Wagons broke down and impeded 
traffic, causing frantic scenes. Hundreds were trying to drag trunks 
along the sidewalks. 

Truckmen were offered fabulous sums to carry people or goods. 

Trucks drove along the streets with their loads blazing, and goods 


dragged into the streets from homes and stores, and piled there, 
caught fire. One man told of "delicate ladies standing guard by their 
rescued pianos" while crowds swept around them senselessly. 

Many who were carrying bundles of prized possessions had to 
abandon them, and the streets were strewn with valuables, oil paint 
ings, silver, books, musical instruments, toys, mirrors, and every con 
ceivable article. 

One survivor told of an undertaker with an eye for business who 
employed half-a-dozen boys, gave each a coffin, took a large one 
himself, and rushed his mournful stock across the Chicago River 
Bridge, The coffins bobbing along above the heads of the crowd 
without apparently any means of motivation was such an absurd 
spectacle, the observer said later, that in spite of their ominous 
portent he could not help laughing. 

Word spread that the bridges over the Chicago River were burning 
and all escape to north and west was cut away. The distracted crowds 
passed the rumor, adding to the pandemonium in the streets. Women, 
half-dressed, carrying babies and with other children clinging to 
them, screamed and ran until trapped in the milling crowds. Passages 
and sidewalks jammed, and people clawed at one another in self- 
defense. Women and children were flung down and trampled by men 
trying to save their goods or their lives. 

Invalids lay helpless on mattresses on the sidewalks, wailing for 

One woman knelt in the street with her skirt in flames, holding a 
crucifix before her while she prayed, and a runaway truck dashed 
her to the ground. 

In the running crowds hundreds of lost children screamed for their 
parents. Families were separated, and many never came together 
again, for unknown thousands lost their lives. Pet animals whimpered 
their terror underfoot, hunting their masters. 

In a city lawless with panic the brutality and horror of some of the 
scenes were sickening. 

Thieves and looters forced their way through the crowds to satisfy 
avarice in streets lined with unclaimed treasure. Deserted saloons and 
liquor stores were broken into, and shouting men brandished bottles 
of whisky and champagne. Drunken boys reeled about carrying casks 
of whisky, offering drinks to crowds of excited men. A survivor told 
of seeing a little girl run screaming down a street with her long golden 
hair on fire. A drunken man threw a glass of liquor over her, and the 
child was covered with blue flame. 

One man carried a blazing plank to a pile of costly furniture before 
a magnificent residence and ignited it. Then he mounted a packing 
box and screamed that this was the poor man s opportunity. 


One ragamuffin lay dead under a fallen marble window ledge, with 
white kid gloves on his hands and his pockets bursting with plunder. 

Large-scale disaster is bound to bring the worst in human nature 
to the surface. But also the noblest in man came to the fore. Many 
gave their lives to save others in those dreadful hours. Men and 
women perished trying to rescue invalids, children, and dumb ani 
mals. Strangers helped one another. Unknown heroes survived, and 
others died, in the Great Chicago Fire. 

Mother, watching from the porch at Lake View, knew there would 
be refugees. 

The first arrived that morning. She was a perfect stranger to 
Mother, and invalided, and she was to become Aunty Sims to the 
family. She was delivered at the door on a spring mattress laid across 
an express wagon, and she was to remain at Lake View for the rest 
of her days, to be alternately a tower of strength and a thorn in 
Mother s side. 

Through that day and the second night and on through the next 
day Chicago continued to burn. Mother sent Peter astride old Billy, 
the horse, to hunt for provisions. After he left, a handsome but sooty 
carriage turned into the driveway filled with strange-looking people 
in curious costumes. Who were these colored people, Mother won 
dered, then she recognized her dear friends, the Miller-Morgan 
family, who were not colored but begrimed with soot and smoke and 
clad in whatever they had found first when the Great Fire drove them 
from their comfortable home. 

Mary Miller had been one of Mother s schoolmates at Dearborn 
Seminary. Her husband, A. Halsey Miller, owned the large whole 
sale and retail jewelry store opposite the Chicago courthouse known 
as the "Tiffany of the West." With them were their two little children 
and Mary s mother, Mrs. Morgan. Her father had been separated 
from them in flight. 

For two days and a night, without food or rest, they had battled 
their way through smoke, wind, and flames to Lake View. 

Mr. Miller s eyes had been badly seared with fire and he could not 
see, so Mary had mounted the coachman s seat and driven the horses 
ahead of the flames to Lake View. She was wearing a dressing gown 
over her nightdress and its hem was scorched and her bare feet blis 
tered. Even when she reached Lake View* she would not rest, for the 
horses* feet were badly burned, and Mary soaked their hoofs in hot 
water and poulticed them before she would attend to her own 
scorched feet. Year later she told me how Mother ordered food and 


beds prepared for them, and put compresses of tea leaves on Mr. 
Miller s burned eyes, and found a farmer s wife near by with a child 
of her own to nurse Mary s four-month-old baby, for in the exodus 
her milk had dried up. 

Mrs. Morgan was wearing all the dresses she could wear, six in all 
"Fit for an asylum" was the way she described her appearance, but 
she had saved the dresses. 

No sooner did Mother have them all comfortable than Mr. Waller 
came hurrying over to say trees near by had caught fire and he was 
moving his family to a safer place. 

Aunty Sims and the others were in no condition to be moved, and 
Peter had not returned, but there was nothing to do but join the 
flight. Mother left a note for Peter, telling him she did not know 
where they were going. She and Mary reharnessed the Miller team 
and, since there was no horse for her own buggy, she tied it to the 
back of the Miller carriage with a stout rope. Into the buggy she 
hoisted Aunty Sims, with Annie and Maggie, the two eldest little 
girls; Bessie and baby Tanetta went into the carriage ahead with the 
Morgans and the Millers. The tired, footsore horses had to pull the 
double load, but they seemed to scent danger and were willing, even 
eager, to be off. 

The little caravan plodded up Graceland Road through the heavy 
sand. Aimlessly they drove west, not knowing where to go. They 
were no longer alone. They were trapped in a river of refugees drag 
ging their way ahead of flames that still raged in their wake, racing 
west from flaming Chicago. 

The roads were crowded with every kind of vehicle. Men and boys 
pulled heavy loads or carried their old and ill. Women bore bundles 
and babies, and there were even dogs with baskets in their mouths, 
or drawing small wagons. And baby carriages! It seemed everyone 
had a baby. Little smudge-faced girls trudged through the ashen dust 
clutching their dolls. 

Many survivors of the Great Fire dwelt upon the terrifying roar 
of the conflagration. Even more ominous, Mother said, was the 
silence of the fleeing population of a doomed city. 

On Graceland Road they overtook a lumber wagon driven by a 
man Mother knew. She asked his advice as to where they should go, 

"We live in Jefferson," he told her. "You are welcome to my 

On their arrival at the man s house they found twenty other refu 
gees there ahead of them, the majority total strangers to their host. 
But he and his kind wife did all they could to make them comfortable. 

The next morning they drove back to Lake View and found it safe. 


Peter had proved the faithful servant, and, on returning to the house 
and finding Mother gone, had worked all night with the garden hoses 
keeping the roof of the cottage wet. The fire stopped at Fullerton 
Avenue just in time to save the house and grounds. 

Mary Miller and her husband returned to Chicago to hunt her 
father. They found him safe. They also went to the Lake Shore, 
where they had first fled with thousands of other refugees, until the 
sands grew too hot to bear. They had buried several trunks con 
taining jewelry, fine laces, furs, and wearing apparel, in the sand 
before leaving, and their coachman deserted them there. Later they 
heard that the faithless coachman was living with a woman who 
decked herself with their fine clothes, jewelry, laces, and furs. 

All through the flight Mary had jealously guarded a heavy valise 
which she believed contained their choicest valuables but which, 
when she opened it at Lake View, was found to contain nothing but 
old shoes. Many in their excitement rescued heavy packages only to 
find what they had saved with so much effort was utterly worthless. 

I do not think the Millers grieved too much over their losses. All 
their lives were safe, and possessions, contrasted with life, lose their 

Father and Mother felt the same way. 

Father had returned to a city of desolation. His friend General 
William Bross, who with Mr. Joseph Medill and Mr. Horace White 
published the Chicago Tribune, and who had fought to save the news 
paper in the very heart of the holocaust, wrote of the fire: 

It was destruction of the entire business portion of one of the greatest 
cities in the world. Every bank, insurance office, law office, hotel, theater, 
railroad, most of the churches and many of the principal residences of 
the city a charred mass property almost beyond estimation gone! 

His partner Mr. Medill, seeing the Tribune office doomed, sought 
and purchased a job printing office on the west side that had escaped 
damage, and collected type and printers. General Bross recounts with 
amusement how he who two days before might have offered a note 
for $100,000 anywhere and had it accepted, and whose fortune was 
now buried under ashes in a bank vault, could not even get four 
wood-burning stoves on credit, to heat the new plant. Eventually, by 
asking ten of his friends, he was able to borrow enough money to 
buy the stoves. 

The next day the Tribune came out with a half sheet, containing 
the sad news of the disaster, and a notice that a lost persons bureau 
had been opened. 


Notices were printed: 

Mrs. Bush is at 40 Arnold Street. She has lost her baby. 

A little girl she cannot speak her name is at Des Plaines Hotel. 

Mrs. Tinney s lost little girl, six years old, Katy, is at Harrison House. 

Mr. Medill, when he died, left his large estate in equal shares to 
his two daughters and the Tribune stock in trust to their husbands, 
Mr. Robert W. Patterson and Mr. Robert Sanderson McCormick, a 
cousin of the Cyrus H. McCormick who brought the Theological 
Seminary to Chicago. 

Colonel Robert Rutherford McCormick, son of Robert McCormick 
and grandson of Mr. Medill, later became editor in chief of the Trib 
une and a picturesque figure of world renown. When Lord North- 
cliffe, the English newspaper publisher, visited me in my home in 
Jerusalem, learning that I was born in Chicago, asked if I knew 
Colonel McCormick. "An extraordinary man," he described him. I 
am afraid my prestige was lowered when I had to admit I had not the 
pleasure of his personal acquaintance, although my parents had been 
friendly with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Medill. During 
the Civil War Mrs. Medill and Mother had been active in the Sanitary 
Commission, which became the Red Cross, and later Mrs. Medill was 
identified with the Soldiers Home in which my parents took an active 
interest. After the Chicago Fire Mr. and Mrs. Medill worked on the 
same relief and aid societies with Father and Mother. 

The Bross family have also kept up their interests in the Tribune. 
General Bross s daughter Jessie, one of Mother s former schoolmates, 
married Dr. Henry D. Lloyd when he was a reporter on the Tribune. 
Their son, Dr. Henry Lloyd, Junior, still owns an interest in the 
Tribune, and owing to his mother s lifelong friendship with Mother, 
has been a true friend to the American Colony in Jerusalem. 

For a time there were sleepless nights for the survivors of stricken 
Chicago. With no street lamps, and "vagabonds and cutthroats flown 
like vultures from every point of the compass, attracted by the scent 
of plunder," only those with urgent business dared venture out of 

Evidently Chicago was again under fire from critics within a short 
time, for I find the draft of a resolution in Father s handwriting which 
must have been prepared for a citizens* meeting soon after the Fke: 

Resolved, that while we recognize that the temporary confusion and 
the unparalleled increase of population, and other results proceeding 
from the fire, have produced an increase of crime in Chicago, that we 
altogether deny that any such state of things is here existing as controls 


New York under the Tammany Ring, or which led San Francisco to the 
appointment of a vigilance committee in our local and state judiciary 
and in the sufficiency of usual and strictly legal methods for the arrest, 
conviction, and punishment of all criminals and the suppression of 
crime. . . . 

The Great Fire was a crushing misfortune to nearly every inhabi 
tant of Chicago. To Father and his associates in the real estate 
venture it was a calamity. Who at such a time could think of enlarg 
ing parks or expanding the city? But interest on the borrowed money 
had to be paid. Father s law library and adjoining law office in the 
city, built up with so much expense and pride, were in ashes. Only 
the contents of a fireproof safe were found and among them, charred 
and brittle from heat, was a little notebook that has revealed to me 
much of my parents lives in these years before I was born. 

Father rejoiced that his wife and children were with him and that 
the beloved Lake View cottage, although it would have to carry a 
small mortgage, was still their own. 


WHEN my father was still a schoolboy he met with an expe 
rience that changed his entire life. 

He was home on a holiday in the handsome and historic house in 
which he was born on October 20, 1828, and which still stands, hid 
den away in what has become an obscure section of North Troy, New 
York. His father, Horatio Gates Spafford, Senior, LLD., was a his 
torian and horticulturist, well-respected and well-to-do. 

Father s family originated in Yorkshire, England, and is listed in 
Domesday Book, the world s first survey of lands. Succeeding genera 
tions were known as possessors of "yeomen, meadow and wood 
pastures"; many bore titles, and others occupied positions of influ 
ence in Church and State. The ruins of Spofforth Castle in Yorkshire 
are impressive and contain a large hall that must have been mag 

On Spofford Hill, near Georgetown, Massachusetts, a boulder of 
native granite bears this inscription: 








This first Spafford, Spofford, or Spofforth, to settle in the New 
World evidently arrived in 1739 with the Rev. Ezekial Rogers. 

Father s early life was comfortable and secure. He attended the 
best schools and won many prizes. He was an avid writer of poetry, 


many of the poems dealing with the heavenly galaxies. In them he 
referred to the night sky as "always overcast." 

One evening, with a school friend who was visiting him, he was 
standing on the porch of his home when his friend spoke of the bril 
liant stars. 

Father challenged him at once. Here was his chance, Father said, 
to speak freely on a subject that was a sore point with him. 

"Now, Charlie," he said, "be candid. Be honest. Do you really see 
enough beauty up there to warrant your outburst?" 

His friend stared at Father. 

"Horatio, I believe you are nearsighted!" Charlie exclaimed, and, 
taking off his own glasses, made Horatio put them on. 

Father s joy at discovering the night sky in all its beauty is revealed 
in a poem published in Wellman s Magazine in April 1850: 


Ye countless stars that tremble in the sky, 
How bright and beautiful are you tonight! 
I ve known ye long, but never did my eye 
So burn beneath the glory of your light 
As it doth now; I kneel to ye ye wear 
The impress of the Deity that s there. 

There is a spirit in the night that talks 
To man, as man cannot. There seems to speak 
A voice to him from out the depths. There walks 
Amid its glowing halls a form that seeks 
Communion with him a pervading soul 
That lives and breathes, and animates the whole. 

How my whole being worships ye, ye skies! 

How Godlike is illimitable space! 

I see in every flashing ray that flies 

Throbbing from forth your lights, the peaceful face 

And aspect of divinity. Ye stand 

As when first flung from the Creator s hand. 

Ye are unchanged the ceaseless lapse of years 
Dims not your brightness since the world began 
And ye were summoned forth, the arch that rears 
Proud and magnificent its giant span 
Filling immensity as now has stood. 
Twill stand with time eternity is God. 

In later years, after Father had entered on his evangelistic career 
with Mr. Moody, he often used this experience to illustrate the 
illumination of spiritual vision on becoming a Christian. 


Before Ms vision was corrected Father had been a rather retiring 
boy. As a young man he was sociable and popular. He liked parties 
and had many friends, he had a healthy love for outdoor sports and 
games, and his love for music and literature grew with the years. His 
hair was thick and dark, Ms eyes dark and deep-set, and because 
bifocals had not yet been made, he had a way of focusing his atten 
tion upon those he met with more intensity than is usual with those 
of normal vision. 

Much of his poetry dealt with the lure of the West, and westward 
he went, after admission to the bar. His West was not gold-bearing 
California, but the Midwestern frontier. In 1856 he settled in Chicago 
and began the practice of law. 

He loved the freedom of the open and limitless prairies, the blue 
of the skies and the blue of Lake Michigan, limitless, to human eyes, 
as the prairies themselves. He felt the thrill of taking part in history 
and the building of the West. 

His name first appears in the Chicago directory of that year as a 
boarder at Clifton House, at the corner of Madison Street and Wa- 
bash Avenue, where lived so many of Chicago s young bachelor set 
who were to become famous in the business, political, philanthropic, 
and scientific life of the budding young city. 

There was even then a distinct line of demarcation between refined 
Chicago society, and the hordes who flocked there because of the op 
portunities the city offered. Despite the "hi$i life" and levity which 
would give it such a strange reputation, there was, and still is, a 
serious and progressive element which dominates Chicago. 

The year Father came to CMcago, when slavery was the burning 
issue, this item appears in the Chicago Tribune of September 3: 

On last Saturday the Republicans of Laporte, Indiana, had a rousing 
meeting. Bonfires were lit and the greatest enthusiasm prevailed. The 
principal speaker was H. G. Spafford of Chicago, who made a telling and 
able address. . . . 

Three years later the name of H. G. Spafford, Esq., Professor of 
Medical Jurisprudence, was listed among the faculty names of the 
newly organized department of Lind University, subsequently known 
as the Chicago Medical College and the Medical Department of 
Northwestern University. Father retained Ms interest in public mat 
ters and found opportunities to step outside the limits of his profes 
sion to make himself heard through speeches and other forms of 

He also found time to teach a Sunday-school class, and it was ia 
this capacity, toward the end of Father s first year in Chicago, that 
he met the beautiful Norwegian girl who was to become my mother. 


When I was a little girl in Jerusalem Mother could hold me fasci 
nated with stories of her girlhood. 

Mother was born in Stavanger, Norway, on March 16, 1842, 
and baptized in the grand old Domkirke as Anna Tubena Larssen. 
I have been told she was a lovely child, with flaxen hair and blue 

Her father, Lars Larssen, was a farmer and a skilled cabinetmaker, 
well-respected in the community. I do not know why he migrated to 
the United States with his family when Mother was four years old. 
Like so many other Scandinavians, he came to Chicago, and eventu 
ally Americanized his name to Lawson. 

Chicago was not then a healthy city. Lying as it did on swamp 
land, on the lower south shore of Lake Michigan, it was difficult to 
drain, and was infested with mosquitoes. No one connected the 
mosquitoes with the malaria, then called "ague fever,* 5 that swept the 
growing city at regular intervals. 

When, because of these defects, an epidemic of cholera struck the 
city, it spread until the greatest part of the population was afflicted. 
Funerals were common in the streets, and Mother and the other 
children, always imitative of their elders, made burials their most 
popular game. She was the only member of the family who escaped 
cholera when the dreaded epidemic reached the Lawson home. 

Her gay, capable young mother, Tanetta, and baby brother Hans, 
were most seriously stricken. My mother was sent to and from the 
drugstore for medicine and brandy. As she hurried through the de 
serted streets she heard on all sides the groans of Chicago s sick and 
dying. She was only seven years old, but she knew to the full the taste 
of human despair. 

Her mother and baby brother died in the epidemic. Her father, it 
was discovered, was threatened with tuberculosis. With her half- 
brother Edward, he moved to Goodhue County, Minnesota, in the 
hope that farming might benefit his health. 

My mother was left in Chicago with a friend, Mrs. Ely. She loved 
this kind foster mother and was happy in her schoolwork and most of 
all in her music. But she could not remain in Chicago when she 
learned her father was ill and in need of her. 

Mother, at fourteen, found herself keeping house for her father 
and brother in an unfinished log house in a wild, unsettled section of 
Minnesota. Wolves howled near by in the forest. Massacres and 
scalpings were not infrequent, and there were always rumors of 
prowling Indians. The nearest neighbor was seven miles away. 

Pioneer living brought out latent qualities in the young girl. She 
worked every day until her strong young back ached, cooking, wash 
ing, milking the cow, tending the chickens, and nursing her father. 


When he died, the two young people were alone in the cabin. 
Settlers from miles around came and helped make a coffin of the 
new lumber Lawson had bought to finish his home. Edward stained 

it outside, to mate it look as nice as possible, and my mother lined 
and padded it with straw covered with a white linen sheet. There 
were no flowers, but the children brought in fragrant branches of fir 
and laurel, and wove wreaths for their father s grave. 

Mother thought it best to return to Chicago at the first opportunity. 
A few weeks later she heard that the pastor son of one of the Nor 
wegian settlers was coming to visit his family. While there he arranged 
to hold a service to which the scattered settlers were invited. He 
planned to leave directly after this service, and he consented to take 
Mother with him across the country to the nearest railroad station, 
where she could entrain for Chicago. 

Edward drove his sister to the farm where the pastor was staying, 
along with the trunk that contained all her worldly belongings. He 
left as soon as Ms horses were rested, for there were cows to be 
milked and chickens to be fed at home. Mother walked along the 
road beside the wagon until he advised her to turn back. 

Edward lived on the farm to a ripe old age, surrounded by children 
and grandchildren. 

But after my mother sadly watched him vanish around a turn in 
the road that day she never saw her brother again. 

She turned back to the farm where the pastor was staying to find 

the barnyard filled with strange horses and oxen and vehicles of every 

drawn up before the house. The settlers had been asked to a 

service conducted by a real pastor and were treating the occasion like 

a festival 

Scandinavians are innately religious, but living as these Norwe- 
did, miles from one another and on the outskirts of civilization, 
they could rarely attend congregational services, and the celebration 
of Holy Communion and baptism was possible only when a visiting 
pastor came their way. Their enthusiasm was great and sincere. Each 
family had brought food to contribute to the board, and the women 
were bustling about, arranging the long tables the men set up, and 
in excited Norwegian catching up with the news and gossip of the 

My mother s troubled heart had no room for festivity. She was 
different even in speech, for she now spoke English far better than 
she did Norwegian. 

Deeper than these differences was another, because of something 
that happened to her in Chicago when she was very young. This was 
an unfortunate experience with a so-called Christian, outwardly a 


church pillar, inwardly mean. She had seen this person behave cruelly 
to defenseless dependents who had no means of retaliation. She her 
self had been subjected to his petty tyranny. 

As so many others have before her, she blamed Christianity in 
stead of the individual. 

Since that time she had not attended church or Sunday school. She 
had not prayed. 

After the services she heard the pastor agreeing to remain one 
more week so that he could drive around the country and baptize 
the infants born since the last pastor had been there. 

It was too late to return to Edward and the farm. No one was 
driving that way, and fear of wolves and Indians kept her from start 
ing out on foot alone. 

The pastor drove off with departing guests, and my mother was 
left with his family. 

She found it consisted of a blind mother and a stepfather who 
leered at her in a sinister way. The pair cooked, ate, slept in the one 
enormous downstairs room, with a fireplace where the cooking was 
done on cranes. The only other room was a dark and dirty attic into 
which the blind woman led her. 

In a corner Mother found a pile of straw. Worn out, she fell asleep. 

She was wakened by something pawing her face and mumbling. 
She could see nothing. She wanted to scream but could not. Then she 
knew it was not an animal, for she caught incoherent mumbling in 
Norwegian. She lay motionless, holding her breath, until the creature 
shuffled away into another corner. She continued to lie on the straw, 
stiff with cold and fear, after she heard it snoring in sleep. 

Then Mother prayed. 

"O God," she cried in her misery, "deliver me, and I will never 
be discontented again." 

Morning revealed a sleeping woman in the attic, looking more like 
an animal than a human being. Mother learned that this was a de 
mented stepsister of the pastor s. After breakfast the crazy girl ran 
away into the woods, and there she remained until evening, when 
hunger drove her back to the house and the plate of food set out for 

Mother felt that she could not endure another nigjit in the attic. 
But the man in the downstairs room made gestured overtures to her 
under the blind eyes of his wife, and Mother was afraid. She returned 
to the attic and her demented roommate. 

The girl, she found, was not dangerous. Mother spoke to her and 
showed her kindness, and the girl responded with a pathetic grati 

The week, Mother said, was spent in a veritable gehenna, but out 


of it came the resolve to reject despair which was to uphold her in 
greater need. 

Chicago, by contrast, was like a return to heaven. Mother s half- 
sister, Mrs. Rachel Frederickson, welcomed her, and she returned to 
her beloved music and voice training. She attended Dearborn Semi 
nary and received tribute as a "brilliant scholar." She made friends 
who remained stanch all their lives. Among them was Mary Morgan, 
who married A. Halsey Miller, and Bertha Madison, who married 
Div Johnson and moved to Paris, and who was to be an angel of 
mercy to Mother after the tragedy that was to change my parents* 
lives. Jessie Brass, whose father was lieutenant governor of the state 
of Illinois, was also a Dearborn girl, and her friendship with Mother 
was very close. 

Another school friend, Jenny Simpson, tried to persuade her to 
attend Sunday school. 

"Our Sunday-school teacher is different," Jenny argued. "He does 
not talk down to us. He gives us a chance to express our opinions, 
and he loves an argument. Annie/* she begged, "it will do you good 
to hear Mr. Spafford." 

Mother was only fifteen, but she had lived through much, and in 
dignity and mentality was developed far beyond her years. One of 
her friends wrote this description of her as she was then: 

Your mother had the bluest of eyes, and abundant fair hair, with beau 
tifully molded mouth and chin, and very white and even teeth. Her ears 
were so pretty they were often compared to seashelk. She had a merry, 
kind, and affectionate disposition that won the hearts of many people, 
tot she could be misdhievoes, too, with a keen smse of humor. Her 
voice was lovely, and people predicted that when it was trained a great 
future lay before her. 

This was the young Annie Lawson who, worn down by argument, 
consented to visit Horatio Spaffonfs Sunday-school class "just o&ce." 

Father was attracted immediately to the lovely young Norwegian 
girl. After her visit to his Sunday-school class he could not get her 
out of his mind. He remembered how she looked one straight in the 
eye as she spoke, and how she had taken her part in his classroom 
arguments in a surprisingly intelligent manner. 

He did not realize that Mother was only fifteen. He was fourteen 
years her senior, but the discrepancy was not apparent, for she 
seemed his equal in years. 

"That is an unusual girl," he decided; "she must have had some 
unique experience to be able to make such deep and searching com 


And he made up his mind to call on her sister, Mrs. Frederickson, 
where he had learned Mother was staying, and find out for himself 
who she was and what was the secret of her personality. 

One year later he asked her to marry him. 

Only then did he discover Mother s real age. He realized she was 
too young to marry, and it was arranged that she should leave her 
sister s home and for three years attend the Ferry Institute for Young 
Ladies in Lake Forest, about twenty-eight miles from Chicago. It is 
now known as Ferry Hall and a select school, as it was then. 

Some years ago I visited Ferry Hall. I heard that the memory still 
lived of Mother and the three years she spent there, and of the Bible 
readings and discussion group she started while a student. I learned 
that she was considered one of the school s outstanding alumnae. I 
was privileged to address the scholars and tell them of Mother s life 
after leaving, and of her work in America and Jerusalem. 

After the talk we visited a house near by that had been one of the 
dormitories in Mother s day* On a windowpane in one of the rooms 
was scratched a heart, and inside it the initials, HS-AL. No one re 
membered who had put them there, but the letters spoke volumes to 
me. "Horatio Spafford-Anna Lawson." Mother scratched them there 
with her engagement ring. 

She wrote a letter from this school to Mrs. Ely. It is dated Decem 
ber 6, 1860, and reads in part: 

I wish you were acquainted with Mr. Spafford. He is a true, noble 
man. I owe him a great deal, but still would not marry him merely from 

I have often wondered what he could see in me to like, for I am so 
simple and ignorant, while he is so strong and learned. I pray to God that 
I may be worthy of him. 

Father was considered one of the most promising young lawyers in 
the city. He had family, social position, and money. Dowagers with 
marriageable daughters resented his "picking up with a young girl 
nobody knows, and foreign at that." 

They were married on September 5, 1861, in the Second Presby 
terian Church on the south side of Chicago. The young couple had 
decided on a very quiet wedding. War was on between the North and 
the South, and marriage in wartime must needs be simple. Announce 
ments were sent to all their acquaintances, but only a few were asked 
to attend the ceremony. 

Father invited only his closest friends to the church, and Mother 
her sister and several friends, one of them being Mrs. Lawson, who 


had been her confidant through many vicissitudes since her mother s 
death, and whose son, the late Victor Lawson, was editor and owner 

of the Chicago Daily News. 

Mother s wedding dress was planned to be useful long after ^the 
wedding day. It was a dark blue taffeta with a hooped skirt, tight 
waist and overskirt, and with it she wore a small bonnet made of the 

same dark material trimmed with tiny pink roses. Its turned-up brim 
was lined with shirred pink chiffon, and Mother s friends who saw 
her coming down the aisle that day have told me she was lovely. 

Much to the amazement of the bride and groom, they found the 
church filled with smiling people. It had been beautifully decorated 
with white lowers and ferns. This surprise meant much to the young 

From the church they had driven straight to the house at Lake 

Chicago had grown since Father began his career there. 

A fact not commonly realized is the tremendous momentum given 
the city by Cyras H. McCormick, inventor of the reaper that bears 
his name, when he secured its patent and in 1845 built the first 
McCormick factory on the site of the Du Sable and Kinzie cabin, 
Chicago s first homestead. 

The advent of railroads and mechanical farming implements put 
an end to Chicago s isolation. By the time Lincoln became President, 
Chicago was the crossroads of the continent and the exchange center 
for thousands of miles of prairie harvestings, and the McCormick 
factory was turning out more than 50,000 reapers a year. 

Mr. McCormick, as more reapers sold and his wealth increased, 
Ms influence to advance the religious, educational, and mer 
cantile interests of expanding Chicago. 

His offer in 1859 of one hundred thousand dollars to endow four 
professorships in the failing New Albany Theological Seminary of 
Indiana, on condition it was moved to Chicago, helped greatly in 
bringing the school to Chicago under the amended name of The 
Presbyterian Theological Seminary of the Northwest. 

Father entered upon his duties with the seminary during its tur 
bulent period, when feeling ran high over the matter of the McCor 
mick chair. 

He served as a director from 1867 to 1871 and from 1874 to 
1876. He was a trustee from 1869 to 1870 and during that time 
served as secretary to the board of trustees. 

He financed several scholarships which helped a number of stu 
dents through the seminary. Conspicuous among these was George G. 
Stewart, class of 1879, who afterward became president of Auburn 


Theological Seminary in Auburn, New York, and whose son, George 
Stewart, was twice acting president of the American University of 
Beirut in Syria, otherwise, its treasurer. 

Father had ardently supported Lincoln. 

Mr. McCormick was Virginia born and his sympathies were 

His proffered endowment was for four chairs, of which only one, 
that of theology, was to bear his name. Perhaps because of this there 
was more argument over its occupancy than over any of the others. 

Any candidate of abolitionist tendencies was opposed by Mr. 
McCormick, who threatened to contest the board s demands for the 
final payments on his endowment fund. 

The Chicago Daily Tribune of December 2, 1868, commented: 

Mr. McCormick will not, if he can prevent it, permit any man, who 
contributed by word or deed to the abolition of human slavery, to edu 
cate preachers of the Gospel. 

By the time the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church met 
in Philadelphia in 1869 the division between the two factions was 
so clearly marked that two different reports were sent in. 

Criticisms were written and circulated. "White papers" of defense 
were published and sent broadcast. Every religious paper of the 
period contained articles on the subject. 

Father was sent to Philadelphia as one of the majority group of 
"new friends" of the seminary, to plead before the Assembly the 
special cause: that those who had given most to the seminary wanted 
to wield most authority in proportion to their gifts. 

The opposing group of "old friends," or McCormick faction, let 
intimations go forth during the conclave that the properties Mr. 
McCormick had set aside to pay the promised endowment were not 
paying so well as heretofore, which would, they hinted, explain why 
his promised donations had been withheld. 

As soon as Father heard this, he telegraphed his friend Mr. Ker- 
foot, a prominent real estate dealer in Chicago, to find out exactly 
what the property brought in. When Father rose to make his speech 
he held the answer in his hand the property s income was undimiix- 
ished. At one point he urged that Mr. McCormick be told either to 
cease using his money as a means of bringing the institution to terms, 
or to "cast it into the sea." 

The decision was reached by the General Assembly, according to 
the History of McCormick Seminary by Halsey, by "releasing him 
[Mr. McCormick] from the bond which he refuses to regard as bind 
ing, established a vastly momentous principle. The civil courts have 
since, in defining and regulating trusts, acted upon the general prin- 


ciples of this ecclesiastical decision. A trust, like a promise, must in 
law and moral be interpreted as the maker understood it, and sup 
posed the one to whom it was made understood it." 

Terms were drawn up, recommending that "bygones be bygones, 
and no further controversy respecting past issues be indulged in, 
that Dr. Lord, opposed by Mr. McCormick, retain the chair, and that 
Mr. McCormick be released from the fourth installment of his bond." 
Signed, "this third day of November, 1869, by D. C. Marquis and 
H. G. Spafford." 

So the feud ended, and years later the handsome seminary in the 
heart of Chicago took the McCormick name. 

Through all the contentions and controversies Mr. McCormick 
and Father continued to be the best of friends. 

Father was a man of independent character, thought, and action. 
He made up his mind about what was right and acted according to 
his conscience. 

Cyrus McCormick was equally outspoken and independent. The 
two men could radically differ in opinion, attack each other on dis 
puted questions, but otherwise respect each other. 

The year before the Great Chicago Fire the famous "Noon Prayer 
Meeting" was started in Chicago by Mr. Dwight L. Moody. Busi 
ness and professional men met every noon for a few minutes of de 
votional inspiration and rest. Father was helpful in getting it started. 
He was a fervent believer in prayer. I have been told by Chicagoans 
that it was owing to him that it got started, but I know Father would 
be the last to accept such credit. It really was a spontaneous crying 
out in many persons as the result of spiritual hunger. 

The remarkable part is that the noon prayer meeting is still func 

At this time Mr. Moody was in debt, selling shoes for his self- 
support and preaching when he could spare the time. Father was one 
of his supporters, and so was the head of the shoeshop. The manner 
in which they helped pay Mr. Moody s debts so that he could devote 
his full time to preaching is revealed in Father s notebook. 

When my parents later took the decisive step and went to Jeru 
salem they left their home and all their possessions. Everything was 
lost. A few letters, papers, and notebooks of only sentimental value 
were all that were left of those early years in Chicago. It is from 
these, remembered conversations with Father and Mother and their 
friends, and pages in Father s irregularly kept diary saved from the 
Chicago Fire, that I have been able to present events and persons 
that influenced my parents then. In the notebook, in Father s hand 
writing, is a resolution, signed by himself and a number of his as- 


sociates, which explains how Mr. Moody got some of the money 
which, as Mr. Moody says, "God made him steward of: 

We, the undersigned, hereby agree to give during the year 1870 the 
sum set opposite our names respectively towards the salary of Mr. D. L. 
Moody. Such subscriptions to be paid in quarterly installments in ad 
vance, commencing Jan. 1st, 1870. 

It is interesting to note that among the other contributors are the 
names of Mr. C. M. Henderson, Mr. E. W. Blatchford, and Mr. S. 
M. Moore. 

Mr. Henderson was the proprietor of the wholesale boot and shoe 
house where Mr. Moody was working, and from which he was now 
being rescued. 

Mr. Blatchford was the father of Mrs. Howard Bliss, whose hus 
band was the second president of the American University of Beirut, 
Lebanon, and of Edward Blatchford, who came to Jerusalem as 
representative of the Near East Relief after World War I and was 
later attached to the Consulate General of the United States. 

Mr. Moore was the father of Mrs. Gates, whose husband was for 
many years the president of Robert College at Istanbul, Turkey. 

I also have a long letter in Mr. Moody s handwriting, written from 
Dundee, Scotland, to Major Whittle, who handed it on to Father, as 
part of it concerned him. Mr. Moody was expressing the hope that 
Father could help Major Whittle settle his debts as he had helped 
Mr. Moody settle his in 1870. The letter, written in Mr. Moody s 
fervid strain, and without a single mark of punctuation, reads in 

Dundee January 30th 1874 

I am anxious to hear from you and to know your decision of the mat 
ter that Sp afford was to see you about I sent $500 yesterday to Mr Hoi- 
den and if you decide to give up business you can have that at once that 
will help you pay off some of your debts and if Spafford will take the 
other 2500 the latter part of the year all right and if he cannot do it 
without cramping him I will do so for five years My prayers have been 
that you might be a free man like myself but I never could see how you 
could do it until you got out of debt and how that was to be done I could 
not tell but now I see it all launch out my brother into the dark God 
has made me a steward at least of a little money and I can do as I please 
with it ... Remember me to my friends and tell them I would like to 
see them especially Spafford and his dear wife I cannot tell you how I 
love them Much [remember?] me to Cole I am so thankful God is using 

Yours with a heart full of love 



This letter and the notebook agreement give an idea of the close 
ness of the ties of friendship between Father and Mr. Moody and 
the other evangelists who were associates at this time. 

Father s life was profoundly influenced by this early association 
with Mr. Moody, and later Mr. Ira D. Sankey and Major Whittle, 
Major Cole, Dr. Pentecost, Mr. P. P. Bliss, Mr. George C. Stebbins, 
and others of that illustrious group who have gone down in history 
as the builders of American Christian evangelism. 

The group of evangelists and musicians who gathered about Mr. 
Moody often met at our home in Lake View for conferences and 

Another family friend was Miss Frances E. Willard of Evanston, 
Illinois, who was president of the National Women s Christian Tem 
perance Union. Father had strong ideas on temperance. Once, in a 
discussion with her on the subject, Father said he fervently believed 
in it. 

"Then why don t you join us?" she asked. 

"Because," Father explained, "you advocate temperance and prac 
tice total abstinence." 

Not long before the Great Chicago Fire, at one of the Moody Noon 
Prayer Meetings, Father prayed that God would "baptize us with the 
Holy Spirit and Fire." After the holocaust he received criticism. 
When I heard about it, many years later, I remarked that at least his 
critics gave Father credit that his prayers were answered. 

My four "little sisters" loved Mr. Moody, and in later years the 
great evangelist told of the time Annie and Maggie expressed their 
wish to join the church. This was an unusual request for such young 
children, and Mr. Moody thought them too young to understand. So 
he took them aside and separately questioned them concerning the 
dogmas of the church and their obligations as members of the Chris 
tian community. 

Then he led them to the minister. "These children know more 
than I do," Mr. Moody said. "They are quite prepared to join." 

They were deeply religious little girls, but to them, as to my par 
ents, religion was a matter of joy and not of gloom, as was too often 
the result of religious teachings iu that day. They were happy chil 
dren, and lived a normal childhood. 

They had their hair cut short; this was one of Father s idiosyn 
crasies, which the girls hated, because it made them peculiar and 
unlike other children. I know from experience, for I, too, had short 
hair like an Eton crop, until I was ten years old. There is nothing a 
child so hates as to be "different." But Father thought it was sanitary, 
cool, and less trouble, as modern people have come to realize To 
satisfy their craving for long hair they contrived to make wigs of 


some material, tied with bright rags to represent the coveted hair- 

Their favorite game was acting bits of history, into which they drew 
the neighbor children and Cousin Rob, when he was home from 
boarding school during the holidays. In Father s gifts of history- 
books, especially those of England and Scotland, they read about the 
executions of so many of their favorite characters, Annie prayed one 

"Dear God, don t let Maggie or me ever be queens, but only 

Cousin Rob, as we called him, was Robert Eugene Lawrence, 
Aunt Eureka s son. 

Eureka, Father s sister, was born at the moment when my grand 
father s spirit was exalted because of one of his discoveries. I always 
understood that it was the fact that tomatoes were edible. He may 
have tried the experiment on himself it would have been like him 
and his elation was the greater because he had survived. 

Aunt Eureka died in our home in Lake View in 1870, 1 think. On 
her deathbed she implored Father and Mother to take Robert and 
bring him up as their own. He was a brilliant boy and as close to 
them as a son. 

Also in this year 1870 Father made a four-months business trip 
to the British Isles. 

In his notebook are notes about the Franco-Prussian War, still 
unsettled, and he ponders over "the striking incapacity of the French 
people to allow 500,000 Prussians to completely subjugate all 

He was impressed by the fact that Saturday was a half-holiday 
in England, a custom which had not yet penetrated the United States, 
and by the outspoken sincerity of the British press. He ordered 
English newspapers and periodicals for his family and friends, and 
bought many books. He met and admired the great English non-con 
formist preacher, Dr. Spurgeon. 

In Edinburgh he met Professor Piazza Smith, F.R.S.E., F.R.A,S., 
Astronomer Royal for Scotland, a meeting that changed the destinies 
of many people, including Father s. 

The British-Israelite theory that the Anglo-Saxon people are 
descendants of the lost tribes of Israel was the topic of the hour in 
religious circles and Dr. Smith was a leading apostle. 

Dr. Smith and his wife had recently returned from Egypt, where 


for four months they had resided on Pyramid Hill at Geza. With a 
variety of surveying and astronomical instruments Dr. Smith meas 
ured the Great Pyramid, using the inch. According to him each 
measurement of the passages, chambers, and galleries indicated a 
historical event or prophecy and elucidated many mysteries referred 
to cryptically in the Bible. 

Dr. Smith believed that Isaiah was referring to the Great Pyramid 
when he said: 

In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land 
of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. 

And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of Hosts . . . 

Dr. Smith returned to Edinburgh convinced that the Great Pyra 
mid of Geza was built by divine inspiration, and that the world pos 
sessed in it a "monument of inspiration," as it had long possessed 
a "book of inspiration," in the Bible, Academic archaeology, Dr. 
Smith went on to say, did not accept his theory. 

Such a study could lead into a labyrinth that has no end, but it 
opened up a new vista to Father. This chance meeting with Dr. Smith 
instilled in him an interest in the prophecies of the Old Testament 
and the prophetic significance of the ancient pyramid. It was this, 
I think, that largely influenced Father and Mother, after the founda 
tions of their lives had been shaken by tragedy, to turn to the Holy 
Land and a study of its prophecies. 

Years later Dr. Smith and his wife returned to the Holy Land and 
visited Father and Mother. 

A short time after Father s return Mr. Moody went to England 
and Scotland, where his genius as an evangelist was fully recognized. 
Nothing like the resultant revival wave had ever been known, and no 
one born in Chicago can fail to be proud that it started there, in a 
city too often made notorious. 

In its wide sweep the revival caught up men as different as Henry 
Morehouse, Professor Henry Drummond, James Keir Hardie, Dr., 
later Sir, Wilfred Grenfell, and C. T. Studd. 

In London Mr. Moody addressed an "acre of people" three times 
a day. 

Leaders in all the churches showed sympathetic interest in the 
Moody work and many of them actively co-operated. 

Moody and Sankey hymns were on every lip. 

Sir George Adams Smith wrote of the Moody and Sankey revival: 

The present generation does not know how large it was and with what 
results upon the life of our nation. 


George C. Stebbins wrote in his memoirs that in Dundee, Scotland, 
two clowns tried to make sport of the Moody and Sankey meetings 
then in process. 

"I feel Moody tonight," one clown said, and the other retorted, 
"Well, I feel Sankeymonious." 

The audience did not laugh. Instead, it rose to a man and burst 
into the hymn "Hold the fort for I am coming." 

Mr. Moody s trumphant tour of England and Scotland won him 
a vaster appreciation in his own country. 

He became the greatest exponent of Protestantism s leading tenets 
of that day, based on belief in a God given to swift and everlasting 
punishments meted out to all sinners, and all mankind, alas, as sin 
ners born. Mr. Moody was converting uncounted thousands by 
what he called the process of "shaking people over hell to make them 

But Father and Mother were slowly coming to believe that God s 
love was so great it took in every created thing, and that no one was 
so wicked but that he might eventually be saved. Father s legal mind 
reached the conclusion that if God were love, as the Bible said, then 
surely that love must extend to all. 

This belief is accepted now, but it was controversial in the 1870s. 
It was not in accord with Mr. Moody s preaching. It was, in fact, 
dangerously close to heresy. 

Mr. Moody s habit, according to one writer, was to "preach the 
wrath of God against sinners." But another evangelist wrote later: 
"Mr. Moody himself mellowed in his conception of shaking people 
over hell to make them good. " He, too, would teach that "God is 

But Father, as usual, was ahead of his time. As always he was 
frank in expressing his new convictions. As his belief in the goodness 
and forgiveness of God became more concrete and could be put 
into words, he discovered in his friends a growing opposition to his 

Still, it was only a cloud "as big as a man s hand" on his otherwise 

clear sky. 

The winter following the Great Fire was one of poverty and suffer 
ing to many in Chicago. A huge organization was instituted for the 
distribution of relief. Money, food, and clothing were given by more 
fortunate citizens, and their donations were augmented by sympa 
thizers from all over the United States, Canada, the British Isles, 
and the continent of Europe. 

To distribute relief the city was divided into sections and a com 
mittee appointed for each quarter. Father and Mother worked on the 


Relief and Aid Committees and put into them all their resourceful 
ness and strength. 

Years later, in 1917, when Jerusalem was delivered by the victo 
rious British Army, and General Allenby, as the late Field Marshal 
Lord Allenby was then called, appointed me to the Relief Commit 
tee to alleviate suffering in the Holy City., it was Mother s experience 
and her advice that enabled me to organize a "setup" similar to that 
of the Great Fire, that made successful our work in Jerusalem. I 
divided Jerusalem into sections, had investigators report to me and 
relief administered, all according to the plan Father and Mother had 
followed in helping start relief work in the still-smouldering ruins of 

Father was a stanch supporter of the Y.M.C.A., and assisted ma 
terially in the erection of the new building in Chicago after the Fire. 

In the minutes of the Board of Managers of the Chicago Y.M.C.A. 
there are many mentions of Father s active work for the Association 
up until 1881, when he left for Palestine. Often I have heard Father 
and Mother tell of incidents relating to the Marine Hospital that was 
situated very near our home in Lake View. Under the auspices of 
the Y.M.C.A. Father conducted religious meetings for the sailors, 
and Mother and my sisters did what they could to bring sunshine into 
their drab lives. The little girls carried fruit and flowers on their 
visits to the hospital. 

Life continued pleasantly in the Lake View cottage despite some 
what straitened financial conditions and Mother s failure to regain 
complete health because of the fright and hardship she had endured 
during the Fire which came so soon after the birth of Tanetta. 

Perhaps memories of the Fire wakened in Mother a dread of being 
separated from any or all of her family, even for a short time, 
although her health demanded rest and change. 

One reason for this need was Aunty Sims. Since her arrival on 
the mattress the morning of the Great Fire, Aunty Sims had vowed 
never to leave Mother, and Mother never had the heart to send her 
away. Like the "simples in the Garden of Allah" Mother collected 
later in Jerusalem, Aunty Sims stayed on and on, and was part of 
the household, and utterly devoted to it and Mother, which made it 
more difficult to ask her to go. She was older than Mother, but was 
as dependent upon her as a child. 

Aunty Sims had a husband somewhere, but he had treated her 
badly, and she was suing for divorce. Evidently Father was giving her 
advice, as I have notes he made on her case. Mr. Sims, however, was 
not to be found, and Aunty Sims had no means of support. 

Aunty Sims used to say that if God forgave her husband and he 
went to heaven, then she did not want to go there. 


Sometimes Mother would rebuke her for dwelling so much on her 
sorrow and being so unforgiving. 

"Oh, it s all very well for you to talk," Aunty Sims would retort. 
"You have a splendid husband, lovely, healthy children, a beautiful 
home; it is easy to be grateful and good when you have everything 
you want. But look out," she would say, pointing a long finger at 
Mother, "that you are not a fair-weather friend to God!" 

That warning returned to Mother all too soon. 

Dear Aunty Sims, so dreaded and so loved. She made herself use 
ful. She mended and sewed. The little girls were devoted to her, for 
she had a fund of stories with which she amused and entertained 
them. Once, when Aunty Sims finally did go away, and Mother was 
feeling gratified that she had managed the departure successfully 
without hurting Aunty Sims* feelings, the little girls all prayed that 
"Jesus would please let Aunty Sims come back," and Mother had an 
intuition, yea, even an apprehension, that their prayer would be 

It was not long before Aunty Sims was back, and installed at Lake 
View for good. 

She was one of the reasons the family doctor advised a "change" 
for Mother. Dr. Hedges realized that going away without her family 
only aggravated Mother s condition, and she could not be happy with 
out them, so he advised Father to take the entire family on a trip to 

Since his own trip three years before Father had been looking for 
ward to showing Mother the museums, art galleries, and all the 
haunts he had so enjoyed. It would be a costly journey, and the land 
investment he and his friends had made just before the Great Fire 
and the loss of his law office in the Fire had left Father rather heavily 
in debt. But he pursuaded himself that his wife s health was more 
important, and they planned for months, and finally all their plans 
were complete. They would go first to France, where they had many 
friends, and then on to Switzerland. Reservations were made for 
Maggie and Annie in a girls school there, and Mile. Nicolet, the 
French governess, would lodge near by with Bessie and baby Tanetta. 
Mile. Nicolet was a charming woman, of a noble Huguenot family, 
and had become a companion to Mother as well as governess to the 
girls. After they were settled in Switzerland Father and Mother 
planned to go away by themselves for several months of European 
travel, a sort of second honeymoon. 

Cousin Rob was doing well in boarding school and it was con 
sidered advisable to leave him there. Aunty Sims went to stay with 
Mother s sister, Aunt Rachel. 


Reservations were made on the most luxurious ship then afloat 
the French liner S.S. Ville du Havre. 

Just before they left Chicago Father had an offer from a man who 
wanted to buy part of the land in which he had invested so disas 
trously before the Great Fire. 

He could not afford to forego such an important offer. The sale 
would relieve the partners of almost all their indebtedness and enable 
Father to take his family to Europe without anxiety. 

It was decided that their plans should not be entirely postponed. 
Mother, the children, and Mile. Nicolet would sail on the Ville du 
Havre and Father would join them later in France. 

Four French pastors who had been in the United States attending 
an evangelical alliance conference were returning to France on the 
Ville du Havre. One was the Rev. M. Lorriaux, whose sister had 
formerly been governess for my sisters at Lake View. Father asked 
Pastor Loniaux if he would look after Mother and her brood, and it 
was finally decided they should stay in the quiet village of Bertry, 
near Paris, where the Lorriaux family lived, until Father came. 

Then, to Mother s great joy, her dear friend and neighbor, Mrs. 
Goodwin, with her three children, Goertner, Julia, and Lulu, decided 
to go to Europe on the same ship. Also, Mother was asked to take 
"under her wing" Willie Culver, the son of other friends, who was 
being sent on a visit to his grandparents in Germany. Willie, Goert 
ner, and Annie were about the same age, and the other little girls 
enjoyed playing together, so it was a merry and companionable group 
of twelve that left Chicago in November 1873. 
| Father went with the party as far as New York. 

Aboard the Ville du Havre, just before sailing time, for no reason 
he could ever determine, Father went to the purser and asked to have 
the two cabins that Mother, Mile. Nicolet, and the four children were 
to occupy changed to two others more toward the bow of the ship. 
He said afterward that he fought against the conviction that he must 
change them, not wishing to be troublesome, and also because he had 
no real complaint to make. He had chosen them himself, carefully, 
weeks before. But the feeling was so strong that he could not throw 
it off, and at almost the last minute he changed the rooms. 

Just before he bade his family farewell a telegram was handed 
Father, stating that the man who had been about to buy the Chicago 
property had suddenly died of heart failure. 

He put the telegram in his pocket. He could not depress Mother 
with this disconcerting news just as she was about to start out on her 
first voyage without him. Mother had been reluctant to go to Europe 
since she found Father could not accompany them, and Maggie 


evidently shared this feeling. Maggie adored her mother so much she 
dreaded being separated from her even for a night, but she had been 
willing to stay at home alone and in fact begged to be left behind. 

She must have had a strange foreboding, for when my sorrow 
ing parents returned to their silent home they found a little note 
written by Maggie and left in the children s play post office in one 
of the tall elm trees: 

Goodbye, dear sweet Lake View. I will never see you again. 



THE evening of November 21, 1873, found the Ville du Havre, 
according to Captain Sunnount s report, prow east for France on a 
calm Atlantic, which was good news for everyone aboard. There 
had been a sharp squall off the coast of Newfoundland that gave most 
of the passengers a few seasick hours. But now there was no motion, 
and the calm was so complete that Mother said later she found it 
difficult to realize they were on the sea. The weather was clear and 
it was too early to fear icebergs. 

The Ville du Havre was living up to its reputation as the foremost 
pleasure ship of the seas. The bouquets of flowers were still fresh in 
the large and sumptuous dining room, where Pastor Lorriaux, at 
dinner, was teaching Mother French from the menu in preparation 
for her stay in France. 

The Rev. Emil Cook, another of the four French pastors, had 
organized a Sunday-school class among the many children aboard. 
The children themselves chose their first hymn: "I Want to Be an 
Angel. * 

After dinner Mother helped Mile. Nicolet put the four little 
daughters to bed and rejoined her friends in the magnificent saloon. 
All the children had left for the night, but the young people returned 
from their after-dinner deck promenade and began organizing games. 
Another of the French pastors, Pastor Weiss, proposed a walk on 
deck, and Mother accepted. 

Pastor Weiss was to write a small book, in French, a copy of which 
has come into my possession. It is his account of this last night on 
the Ville du Havre. He tells how Mother and he walked the deck 
and of their conversation. The stars were unusually bright and the 
mantle of night diamond-studded, and although the moon did not 
shine, the air was transparent and clear. Mother remarked on the 
beauty of the night. Then she told him she had been very sad at 
the separation from her husband and home even for so short a time 

He reassured her. Only a few weeks, he said, and Father would 
be with her, and meantime she would be in France, where so many 
were waiting to welcome her. 


"I know all this," she admitted, "and I have struggled against my 

About two o clock that morning, November 22, the Vitte du Havre 
was carrying its sleeping passengers over a quiet sea when two 
terrific claps, like thunder, were followed by frightening screams. The 
engines stopped and the ship stood still. The passageways filled with 
terrified, half-dressed people shouting questions no one could answer. 
Mother and Mile. Nicolet threw on dressing gowns, drew some 
clothing over the children, and ran on deck. Mother carried Tanetta, 
a big, healthy girl, more than two years old. They were among the 
first passengers to reach the deck. Pastor Lorriaux hurried across the 
dark deck to meet them. 

"That must be the vessel that struck us," he exclaimed. 

Several hundred yards away, to starboard of the Ville du Havre, 
towered the masted silhouette of a great iron sailing vessel. This ship 
that had rammed theirs and was itself badly damaged was the English 
Lochearn, Captain Robertson in command. 

I have a copy of the famous Currier and Ives print that tried to 
portray the awfulness of this scene. Ships and sea were lighted only 
by the stars, but the Ville du Havre and Lochearn were like great 
wounded beasts caught in angry troughs of sea created by their 
struggles. Aboard the decks was indescribable confusion. Captain 
Surmount appeared on the bridge of the Ville du Havre and began 
shouting orders. Some of the officers and men were struggling on 
the afterdeck to loosen the lifeboats but they could not detach them, 
for it was only then discovered that everything aboard the beautiful 
pleasure ship was newly painted and stuck fast. By this time crowds 
of passengers, in nightdresses or scantily attired, were crowding 
about the boats or trying to extricate the life preservers suspended 
along the taffrail, but these, too, were stuck fast. 

The sailors kept shouting that there was no danger, and all were 
to keep calm, but the passengers ran about frantically, fighting to 
reach the lifeboats. Curses, yells, and hysterical screaming made the 
deck a bedlam. Some people dropped to their knees and began pray 

Everything was happening so quickly, in such confusion, that it 
seemed impossible all this took place in a few seconds. 

Tanetta was heavy, and Annie put her shoulder under Mother s 
elbow to help lift her weight. Maggie and Bessie stood pressed against 
Mother. Mile. Nicolet and Willie Culver were there, and Pastor Lor 
riaux stood guard over the little group. 

Then Maggie saw Pastor Weiss on deck and ran to him. 

"You will stay with us, won t you?" she pleaded. 

He promised he would. Then he noticed she was shivering with 


cold. He said lie would get some clothing, if Pastor Lorriaux would 
keep the little group together and try to get them to a lifeboat. Pastor 
Weiss ran below and seized his own overcoat and some shawls and 
wraps for the children. As he came back through the passageway he 
saw Pastor Cook standing there in his nightshirt, looking dazed. 

"Why are you not dressed?" he demanded. 

"Our stateroom was smashed in," Cook answered. "How I am 
saved I cannot say. I helped a woman look for her children under the 
rubbish and found the water rising fast/ 

By this they knew that the Ville du Havre had been struck on the 
starboard athwart the mainmast. The staterooms Father had insisted 
on changing were the first to catch the crushing blow of the iron ship, 
and their unfortunate occupants were the first on the Ville du Havre 
to die. 

The hysteria mounted on deck. Hundreds were fighting and crowd 
ing to reach the inadequate boats. Several clung to deck settees which 
later saved their lives. Two or three succeeded in wresting life pre 
servers from the paint, donned them, and flung themselves into the 
sea. Willie Culver was last seen trying to loosen the ropes of a life 
belt with his penknife. 

Mrs. Goodwin and her children did not reach the deck. They were 
never seen again. 

The ship s doctor, a kind and devoted man, ran below to care 
for the wounded trapped in their staterooms, and died with them. 

Mother told me that in the space of a few seconds she was forced 
through a spiritual struggle. She and the children, being the first to 
reach the deck, were nearest a lifeboat being freed, but others, 
scrambling, pushed her little group back. Was she doing right, she 
wondered, to permit her children to be beaten back by people whose 
frantic desire to save themselves left them without mercy? Should 
she not fight for her children s lives, if not for her own? 

At that moment the ship shuddered, the screaming grew, the con 
fusion became more terrifying. Pastor Weiss thought there were too 
many people on their side of the ship. 

"Huriy to the other side!" he shouted, just as the mainmast crashed 
down carrying with it the mizzen, and the two boats over which there 
had been so much struggle were carried overboard together with all 
those struggling to free them and those who had fought their way in. 
Mother and Pastor Lorriaux were both hurt, but slightly, and Mother, 
hearing the heartrending death screams from the water, knew that 
if she had "stood for her rights" she would have perished with those 
who fought hardest to live. 

The Ville du Havre was sinking rapidly. Mother knew this was 


the end; she knew, too, it was not hard to die. She thought of Father 
with anguish, then, "he would rather think of me with the children." 
That gave her courage. 

The great ship careened to starboard. The water was very near. 
There was a moment of awful silence as the deck slid lower to meet 
the sea. 

Little Maggie was holding Pastor Weiss s hand. She looked up into 
his face. 

"Pray," she begged. 

"God help us," he responded. 

There was another loud crash as the bow broke from the ship and 
sank. Maggie, who until this moment had been terrified, dropped Mr. 
Weiss s hand and went to Mother. She was suddenly calm and un 
afraid. Tanetta, her arms around Mother s neck, was quiet. Annie 
was still helping Mother support her, and Bessie, silent and pale, 
clutched Mother s knees. Mile. Nicolet, the two pastors, Mother, 
and her little girls stood quietly together. 

As Maggie stepped beside Mother she lifted her dark eyes. 
"Mama, God will take care of us." Then little Annie said, "Don t be 
afraid. The sea is His and He made it." 

The sea rushed over the afterdeck as a watery canyon opened to 
receive the vast ruin of the Ville du Havre. The little group went 
down together, with all on that crowded deck and all those trapped 
below into blackness whose depth stretched many miles, into a whirl 
pool created by suction of bodies, wreckage, and savage water. Only 
twelve minutes after the Ville du Havre was struck it sank with all on 

As Mother was pulled down she felt her baby torn violently from 
her arms. She reached out through the water and caught Tanetta s 
little gown. For a moment she held her again, then the cloth 
wrenched from her hand. She reached out again and touched a man s 
leg in corduroy trousers. 

Once in Jerusalem, when I was a child and we were very poor, 
someone gave me a little corduroy coat. Mother was pleased that I 
had a warm coat to wear, for winters are cold in Jerusalem, but I saw 
the agony on her face. She could never touch that material without 
reliving the moment of helpless anguish when she felt her baby 
drawn from her hands by the power of the Atlantic, and reached for 
her again and felt the corduroy. 

The splash of an oar brought her to consciousness. She was lying in 
a boat, bruised from head to foot and sick with sea water, her long 
hair heavy with salt and her thick dressing gown in ribbons. She knew, 
with no need of being told, that her children were gone. 


From a watch one of the passengers carried, that stopped when the 
ship sank, they estimated that Mother had been in the sea for an hour. 

She had been rolled under and down, and as she rose unconscious 
to the surface a plank floated under her, saving her life. 

The English sailors of the Lochearn were patrolling the littered 
waters in their smallboats, saving all they could of the survivors of the 
ship their own had sent to the bottom of the sea. Only drifting frag 
ments were left of the once magnificent Ville du Havre. 

A few minutes later the same boat that rescued Mother picked up 
Captain Surmount. He had been thrown from the bridge of his sink 
ing ship. Aboard the Lochearn she found Pastor Weiss and Pastor 
Lorriaux. Mile. Nicolet was among those lost. 

Pastor Lorriaux could not swim, but he caught first a bit of wreck 
age and then a life preserver, and finally something like a raft which 
must have been a fragment of ship s flooring. While clinging to 
this he saw a log floating near by to which ten or fifteen people were 
clinging. A boat passed them but was too full to stop, and when it had 
hoisted its rescued to the Lochearn deck and hurried back, the log had 
gone down with all who had clung to it. 

Pastor Lorriaux divided his time between Mother and his friend 
Pastor Blanc, who was picked up unconscious, covered with blood 
from many wounds, and nearly paralyzed. Some of Pastor Blanc s 
ribs were broken and he had great difficulty in breathing. Pastor 
Cook was picked up later. 

No sooner was she aboard the Lochearn than Mother was told that 
two of her little girls, which ones she never knew, had come up in the 
sea near a man to whom they clung. He told them to hold to his coat, 
for he swam well and hoped to save them. First the smaller one 
relaxed and disappeared, and he had nearly reached a boat when the 
other child sank. 

When Mother heard this, it was with difficulty that Pastor Lorriaux 
prevented her from throwing herself after them into the sea. 

She knew her children were gone, but she could not forbear hoping. 
As each boatload was hoisted aboard the Lochearn she joined the 
others who ran to scan the newly rescued relatives or friends. There 
were parents who met their children and embraced silently and long. 
There were others who turned silently away. Poor Mother was one 
of these; still, as each boatload came she sought her four little girls. 

The night stayed clear, and from the Lochearn s deck the rescued 
could scan every particle of floating debris. Under the direction of 
Captain Robertson of the Lochearn sailors continued to ply their 
"boats over the scene of the disaster, without a thought of fatigue or 
even pausing to rest or eat. There were shouts of finds and of salva 
tion, and over all, on the Lochearn, the tragic sound of lamentation. 


Captain Surmount stood silent and apart on the deck, staring at 
the calm sea where his beautiful ship had been lost. 

The sailors on deck were busy dressing wounds and helping 
restore the unconscious. They distributed warm drinks and whatever 
clothing they could scrape together. Some nearly stripped themselves 
trying to cover the rescued. 

The cries for help that at first had come from every direction 
were growing fainter. The icy waters were crushing out the lives of 
the last survivors swept beyond range of the rescue crews. 

One succeeded in holding his wife on the surface until a boat 
reached them, and just as he was helping her into it, his heart failed, 
and he died. 

Another reached a boat just as a woman did. Fright crazed him, 
and when the sailors forced him to let the woman into the boat they 
found he had gone raving mad and was trying to bite. 

A feeble cry was heard from a young girl struggling in the seal A 
bloody gash across her face had been made by a man when she came 
close to a plank he was holding. From another direction came pierc 
ing, insistent cries from a little girl clinging to a piece of wood. "I 
don t want to be drowned," she was screaming. They were able 
to pick her up the only child saved. As the last boat was returning 
with the last survivors the sailors saw a woman rise from the sea hold 
ing a child in her arms. They tried to reach her, but she did not reap 

Again and again the Lochearn s boats went out, but no more sur 
vivors were found. 

By this time it was nearly four in the morning. 

The stars were still brilliant, and the skies clear, as they had been 
since the beautiful sunset the evening before. If the night had been 
stormy, not a soul could have been saved from the Ville du Havre. 

Gradually the heart-rending sounds of affliction aboard the 
Lochearn gave way to the softer tones of mourning as the last hopes 
were replaced by sorrowful reality. Everybody had lost someone, and 
some families were totally wiped out. 

Over the weeping was heard the tranquil murmur of the Atlantic, 
as if nothing had happened to disturb its calm. The sea looked so 
placid that it was difficult to realize that it had just annihilated one 
of the largest steamers afloat, and engulfed, as if in play, two hundred 
and twenty-six lives. 

The Ville du Havre had been manned by Captain Surmount and a 
crew of one hundred and seventy-two officers and men. When Captain 
Robertson of the Lochearn completed the two-hours search after the 
collision, his men had picked up six officers and twenty-three of the 
crew, twenty-eight passengers, ten of them women, seventeen men, 


and the little girl, nine years old, making a total of fifty-seven saved. 

The figures, so sadly eloquent, give no idea of the heartbreaking 
realization brought by this reckoning. 

They extinguished Mother s last hope. 

Among reports later spread about Mother was one that she claimed 
supernatural experiences while fighting to save her life under the sea. 
I found a scrap of paper on which she wrote the following words: 

I had no vision during the struggle in the water at the time of the 
shipwreck, only the conviction that any earnest soul, brought face to face 
with its maker, must have; I realized that my Christianity must be real. 
There was no room here for self-pity, or for the practice of that Chris 
tianity that always favours and condones itself and its own, rendering 
innocuous the sharp two-edged sword of the Word which was intended 
to separate soul from spirit and the desires and thoughts and intents of 
the heart. This soft religion was as far removed from Christ s practice 
of Christianity as east from west. Nothing but a robust Christianity 
could save me then and now. . . . 

Mother told me, long after, that when she came back to conscious 
ness in the boat and knew she had been recalled to life, that her first 
realization was complete despair. How could she face life without her 
children? Horrible as was her physical suffering, her mental anguish 
was worse. Her life had been bound up in her little girls. What was 
life worth now, and what could it ever be without them? 

Then, she told me, it was as if a voice spoke to her. "You are 
spared for a purpose. You have work to do." 

In that moment of returning consciousness she lifted her soul to 
God in an agony of despair and humbly dedicated her life to His 

One of the first thoughts that came to her was a memory of Aunty 
Sims, pointing her finger and saying: "It s easy to be grateful and good 
when you have so much, but take care that you are not a f air-weather 
friend to God!" That phrase repeated itself in Mother s mind. She 
thought, "I won t be a fair-weather friend to God. I will trust Him, 
and someday I ll understand." 

The shipwreck of the Ville du Havre would remain one of the un 
explained tragedies of the sea and its greatest disaster up until the 
sinking of the Lusitania. It was never determined what actually hap 
pened. There seemed no reason for the collision. Captain Robertson 
sighted the great steamer long in advance from the Lochearn, for it 
was, as has been said before, a clear night of starlight and calm. 
Sailing vessels were always given the right of way. 


It will never be known whether the officer who had taken Captain 
Surmount s place on the bridge gave the order to stop, or if the order, 
once given, was badly executed, for he went down with the ship. 

Captain Robertson did not realize at once that his ship had cut the 
Ville du Havre almost in two. Had he known six or seven minutes 
earlier how serious conditions were aboard the Ville du Havre, he said 
later, he could have rendered much more effective help. But he under 
stood from Captain Surmount s shouted French that the steamer was 
not badly injured. 

Captain Robertson said it was only twelve minutes from the time 
the ships rammed until the steamer sank, but the saving of the sur 
vivors took more than two hours. 

He carried out the rescue work from a dangerously damaged ship. 
In fact, he expected the Lochearn to sink immediately after the col 
lision and was astonished when it did not, for the bowsprit was de 

The fact that his damaged vessel was able to keep afloat encouraged 
Captain Robertson to think it was strong enough to resist the pressure 
of the sea, and that by the use of pumps he might bring her safely to 
harbor. Because she had no cargo, the Lochearn sat high out of the 
water and the holes in her prow were above the sea line, while the 
watertight bulkhead prevented the water from forcing its way into the 
hold. But it was soon apparent the Lochearn was in danger. 

The flag of distress was run up. This is generally the ship s national 
flag in this case the English flown upside down. 

For a second time the survivors of the Ville du Havre faced death, 
this time with their rescuers. 

In these days of radio and wireless it is hard to realize the anxious 
watching these poor people had to endure with only a flag to indicate 
their plight. But it was only a matter of hours before a small ship was 
seen approaching under full sail. 

Twenty times I have crossed the Atlantic, once by air, and I know 
how rare the meeting with a ship can be and how seldom one is 
sighted on that vast expanse of water. Yet here, within the space of 
a few hours, three ships came together at a given point, and the 
arrival of that stout little sailing vessel, the Trimountain, commanded 
by Captain Urquhart, in time to rescue the survivors of the ship 
wrecked Ville du Havre and the threatened Lochearn was held to be 
then and must still be considered one of the miracles of the sea, 

Never shall I forget a day some years ago when my husband and 
I called on Mrs. Urquhart, widow of the Trimountain^ captain, and 
her daughter in Brooklyn, New York, and were shown a sterling tea 
service engraved with a testimonial of gratitude that had been pre- 


sented to the captain by the survivors of the Ville du Havre. I looked 
at the service as if it were a holy relic. The captain had died, and we 
were sad not to meet him, for he had been so kind to those he took 
from the sinking Lochearn. 

Captain Urquhart told a strange story to the heartbroken people 
he saved. 

An odd thought had occurred to him early on that voyage as the 
Trimountain, carrying a cargo of canned meats, was taking a north 
erly course from New York to Bristol, England. Through a miscal 
culation made by the charterer a vacant space of about seventy feet 
had been left in the upper betweendecks. Never before had he had any 
space left by a charterer, and Captain Urquhart thought how useful 
the space would be if he met a wrecked ship with passengers to be 
cared for. 

Another thought persisted in the skipper s mind as they left the 
banks of Newfoundland and he took his observations by the Pole 
Star. A few nights before, at port in New York, several captains from 
other ships had dined aboard the Trimountain. Captains frequently 
meet on one another s ships when in port to exchange yarns over a 
bottle or two. 

An argument started as to the actual existence of certain rocks of 
early maritime legend laid down in ancient charts as having been 
sighted between America and Europe. One of the party, Captain 
Robinson, insisted that he had seen with his own eyes the fabulous 
Rock Barenetha. 

His ship passed the rock on a clear day, Captain Robinson de 
clared, so close he was able to take two good observations and mark 
them on his chart, and in proof the chart was aboard his ship, the 
Patrick Henry. 

The other captains hooted this story, and insisted that Captain 
Robinson had sighted the back of a sleeping whale. Only Captain 
Urquhart was enough impressed to go aboard the Patrick Henry and 
examine the chart. The Rock was plainly marked, and he thought it 
might do no harm to chart it, which he did, carefully noting the exact 
position and transferring it to his own chart when he returned to his 

On the night of November 21 he chanced to look at his general 
chart and saw to his surprise that if his reckoning was correct they 
were heading straight for the Rock, only a few miles away. 

He tried to tell himself the Rock was mere legend and that he was 
a fool for having been impressed by Robinson s story. He went to his 
cabin and could not sleep, rose, and looked at the chart again. The 
dot in the circle seemed to grow. The Rock, according to legend, was 
large and dangerous. 


By this time it was one o clock in the morning. Since he could not 
rest, he went on deck. 

His first mate was much older and had spent his life in the North 
Atlantic trade. He ridiculed Captain Urquhart s rather diffident hints 
about a fabulous rock dead ahead. Captain Urquhart returned to his 
rest, but the Rock continued to keep him awake. The sea moved 
under the ship suddenly, and the ship gave a curious lurch, and for 
a moment the captain was convinced that they had struck the Rock. 
He waited, but nothing else happened; at last he made up his mind, 
went on deck again, and ordered the course of the Trimountain 
changed. Only then was he able to fall asleep. He was still fully 
dressed, for his night had been spent in apparently unreasonable 

He was not surprised when he was called on deck within the hour 
and saw the Lochearn flying the distress flag, and knew at once there 
had been a terrible collision. 

Where was the other ship, he wondered? Only a few spars drifted 
on the rising sea. 

Captain Urquhart later calculated the time he had felt the Tri 
mountain lurch in the sea and thought they had struck the Rock 
with the sinking of the Ville du Havre. His little vessel had rocked to 
the ocean s surge caused by a great steamer going down miles away. 

Needless to say, no such rock ever existed. 

Captain Urquhart remained convinced that a divine power had 
linked the apparently trivial circumstances that drew his small but 
adequate ship directly to the scene of disaster. As he himself ex 
pressed it: 

"I believe I was under some supernatural control that night." 

It took more than three hours to transport the forty-seven survivors 
and the Lochearn s crew through the rough sea to the tiny Trimoun 

Pastor Blanc was too ill to be moved, so Pastor Cook volunteered 
to stay with him aboard the endangered Lochearn and share what 
ever fate might overtake the ship. From its deck Pastor Cook watched 
the others being carried in smallboats through the mounting seas to 
the rescue ship. Captain Surmount attended to the embarkation of 
his crew. He was obliged to leave a fireman aboard who was even 
more seriously injured than Pastor Blanc. 

These three men, left behind on a sinking vessel, were tossed by 
every kind of weather, had to pump continuously to keep the ship 
afloat, abandoned it finally, and were eventually picked up by an 
other vessel, the British Queen, and landed in England only four 
days after those who had been rescued by the Trimountain. 


Pastor Blanc recovered, but Pastor Cook did not long survive the 
effects of exposure and the terrible fatigue of continually manning 
the pumps. He lived long enough to see his family again in Paris. 
Two months after the shipwreck he was dead. 

The Trintountcdn was small, but the betweendecks space held the 
rescued, and there were plenty of provisions. Captain Urquhart broke 
into his canned-meat cargo and fed the survivors, but drinking water 
was very scarce. 

He put everything the ship possessed at the disposal of the ship 
wrecked people. In his wardrobe there happened to be many articles 
of clothing belonging to his wife, who sometimes made the crossing 
with him, and these he distributed among the women. Thanks to the 
captain and the generosity of the sailors of both the Trimountain and 
Lochearn? everyone had something to wear, although the attire was 
often peculiar. One stout lady was wrapped in a woolen table cover. 

That first night on the Trimountain was fearful. Captain Urquhart 
asked Pastor Lorriaux to conduct a simple service. Sleep came at last 
to the survivors only because of exhaustion. 

Each day the realization of loss seemed more acute. The com 
panions in grief, living under crowded, almost intolerable conditions, 
showed calmness and courage. They organized themselves for their 
mutual benefit and each had some duty to perform that drew forth 
their spirit of ingenuity and helped make life bearable on the tiny 

Pastor Weiss, in his report on the journey, states that as the days 
went by Mother became quieter and outwardly more reconciled. He 
quotes her as saying: 

"God gave me four little daughters. Now they have been taken 
from me. Someday I will understand why." 

Nine days after the shipwreck, on December 1, 1873, the Tri 
mountain reached Cardiff, Wales. 

Captain Urquhart was not expected to touch Wales, and by cutting 
the journey short for his sad passengers he ran the risk of forfeiting 
the insurance, and I believe he was censured for it. 

As soon as the survivors of the Ville du Havre were landed they 
were able to send dispatches. Mother s cable to Father consisted of 
two words: "Saved Alone. * 

^ On the other side of the Atlantic, Father was waiting for news of 
his family. A curtain of silence descended upon the Ville du Havre 
after she left American waters. Father quieted his anxiety with the 
hope that "no news was good news." 

On the night the ship went down there was a brilliant wedding in 
Lake View. Father was present, and to the many inquiries about his 


family he smilingly replied that they must be nearing the other side 
and he hoped to receive word soon. 

He wrote Mother a gay account of the wedding three nights after 
the shipwreck: 

Lake View, Tuesday evening 
November 25, 1873 

Day after tomorrow will be Thanksgiving Day. I will not say how I 
shall miss you and the dear children. But I will not think too much about 
that. Let us instead strive to profit by the separation. I think this separa 
tion has touched me more deeply than anything else which has ever oc 
curred in my life. . . . 

I feel more and more that the absorbing pursuit of anything earthly 
is not well for one s spiritual life. I scarcely know what to do about the 
Park matters. If I should withdraw altogether from taking an interest in 
things, it is very possible that great injury might be the result, not only 
to my own, but other interests, and yet I feel half inclined to do so, so 
harassing, so vexatious, so even dangerous to one s spiritual peace do I 
esteem these selfish contests about money, money, money. 

Oh, but it is a long distance across the ocean! But, never mind, my 
heart. If the Lord keeps us, we hope before many months to be all to 
gether again, better understanding than ever before the greatness of His 
mercy in the many years of the past. 

When you write, tell me all about the children. How thankful I am to 
God for them! May He make us faithful parents, having an eye single 
to His glory. Annie and Maggie and Bessie and Tanetta it is a sweet 
consolation even to write their names. May the dear Lord keep and sus 
tain and strengthen ypu. . . . 

It was weeks before Mother received that letter in France. When 
Father wrote the names of his children, he had no idea that they were 
no longer on earth. 

Then the blow fell; the cable arrived, not from France, from 
Wales. All that night, with Major Whittle and another devoted friend 
beside him, Father walked the floor in anguish. 

Major Whittle said that toward morning Father turned to him. 

"I am glad to trust the Lord when it will cost me something," he 

He cabled Mother that she should proceed to Paris with Pastor 
Lorriaux, where she had friends, and where he would join her as 
soon as he could cross the Atlantic. 

The steamship company of the ill-fated Ville du Havre conducted 
the survivors to London and provided clothes for them. They were 
taken to the best shops specializing in mourning. As Mother stood 
before their somber wares, black dresses, black bonnets and hats, 
black veiling, black everywhere, she felt her little daughters reproof. 


She had taught them to believe in heaven. She could almost hear their 
voices, "Heaven is lovely; it is a happy place." The familiar quota 
tions rushed through her thoughts, "We shall see Him face to face." 
"We shall know as we are known." "Pearly gates . . . golden streets 
... no sorrow ... no tears ... no night there. . . ." 

She thought: "I have not lost my children. We are only separated 
for a little time." So she invested in a simple black-and-white costume, 
in keeping with her thoughts, but not what her companions in sorrow 
thought suitable for a mother who had lost all her children. She saw 
their glances and sensed their disapproval but she did not explain. 

She felt closer to her little girls after she had made this choice. It 
helped her to bear her sorrow inconspicuously and alone. 


RECENTLY I read a novel that interested me greatly, All This 
and Heaven Too by Rachel Field. When the heroine, accused of mur 
der in France, is finally acquitted, she goes to the home of the Rev. 
and Mrs. Frederic Monod, and their ten-year-old son Theodore 
comes to her room and talks with her. 

This same lad, Theodore Monod, grown and talcing his father s 
place, was among the first to reach Mother with comforting words 
when she arrived lonely and bereaved in France. 

He had met Father and Mother on a trip to the United States and 
visited them at Lake View. At this time he was pastor of the Eglise 
Reformee Evangelique de Paris, which made him, I understand, the 
most famous Protestant clergyman in France. 

He wrote: 

Paris, 114 Place Lafayette 
December 6, 1873 


On my return from Havre, where the fearful news reached me, I find 
a letter from Mrs. Sims enclosing one for you. It seems cold and hard 
to forward it without a line, but oh! what words can express what is in 
my heart, as a friend, as a father; and what voice, except the voice of 
Jesus himself, can bring the least degree of comfort to your desolate 

I will not, dare not, cannot speak of you nor them nor of your husband. 
I had tried to hope the name did not, could not, mean you, until one item 
of information after another left no room for doubt. We cry to God on 
your behalf. 

Mother was waiting for Father s arrival in the village of Bertry 
near Paris, where she had gone with Pastor Lorriaux. Mme. Lor- 
riaux, practical and kind, did not overlook Mother s heartbreak in 
the joy of having her husband safe. She nursed Mother for two weeks 
until she was strong enough to go to Paris and to her friend Mrs. 
Bertha Johnson. 


I have a scrap of paper with a sentence in Mother s handwriting, 
dated December 6, 1873, 

Oh, how sad my heart is without my birds. How little I thought when 
I left my happy home that I should set my foot first upon foreign soil 

She was overwhelmed by kindness. Letters came from friends all 
over the continent, offering money, a home, help of every kind. 
Friends surrounded her: Mme. Demougeot, Mme. Ribot, Pastor 
Monod, and many others. Letters began pouring in from America. 

Margaret Morse has written me that her mother, Mrs. Ely, "de 
scribed vividly to me the darling and beautiful children, so gifted and 
wonderfully trained in love of God and knowledge of the Bible, and 
in obedience. The news of the disaster was overwhelming to all who 
loved your mother. 5 * 

In Chicago, Father searched his life for explanation. Until now 
it had flowed gently as a river. Spiritual peace and worldly security 
had sustained his early years, his family life, and his home. Then had 
come one terrible event upon another. The Chicago Fire with its 
losses, the failure of his real estate venture, now the loss of all his 
children, all had come within the space of two years. 

The important thing was not to lose faith. He must wrestle until 
he could say all was well. 

Added to his grief was spiritual conflict. 

The Puritan foundation of the Protestant churches had carried 
into the United States many of the harsh Old Testament tenets. 
It was universally accepted by all Christians then that sickness or 
sorrow was the result of sin. One was the just retribution of the 

What had Father done, what had his young wife done, that they 
should be so afflicted? He felt that eyes were looking askance at him, 

All around him people were asking the unvoiced question, What 
guilt had brought this sweeping tragedy to Anna and Horatio Spaf- 

Father wrestled with the question on the sad train trip to New 
York with Mr, Goodwin, whose wife and children had also been lost 
in the shipwreck. 

Search the Bible teachings as he might, Father could not reconcile 
this harsh Puritan tenet with his concept of Christian teachings. He 
had to have a deeper faith in the goodness of God. Father remem 
bered Christ s answer to the disciples when they asked whose sin it 
was, the parents or the man s, that caused him to be born blind; 


Jesus answered it was neither the man s nor his parents sin that had 
caused the blindness, but that the works of God should be made 
manifest in him. 

Father became convinced that God was kind, and that he would 
see his children again in heaven. 

This principle, accepted now by all Christians, calmed his heart, 
but it was to bring Father into open conflict with what was then the 
Christian world. 

On the train he wrote Aunt Maggie of this conviction, and in a 
letter to Aunt Rachel he asked that she go to the Lake View home 
and see that all the children s things were put carefully away. 

On the way across the Atlantic the captain called Mr. Goodwin 
and Father into his private cabin. 

"A careful reckoning has been made," he told them, "and I be 
lieve we are now passing the place where the Ville du Havre was 

Father wrote to Aunt Rachel: 

On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down, in 
mid-ocean, the water three miles deep. But I do not think of our dear 
ones there. They are safe, folded, the dear lambs, and there, before very 
long, shall we be too. In the meantime, thanks to God, we have an oppor 
tunity to serve and praise Him for His love and mercy to us and ours. 
"I will praise Him while I have my being." May we each one arise, leave 
all, and follow Him. 

To Father this was a passing through the "valley of the shadow of 
death," but his faith came through triumphant and strong. On the 
high seas, near the place where his children perished, he wrote the 
hymn that was to give comfort to so many: 

When peace like a river attendeth my way, 

When sorrows like sea-billows roll f 
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say; 

"It is well, it is well with my soul." 

Tho Satan should buffet, tho 9 trials should come, 

Let this blest assurance control, 
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, 

And hath shed His own blood for my soul. 

My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! 

My sin not in part but the whole, 
Is nailed to His cross and I bear it no more; 

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh, my soul! 


And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, 

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, 
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend 

"Even so it is well with my soul." 

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live 

If Jordan above me shall roll. 
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life 

Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my souL 

That he could write such words at such a time was made possible 
by the fierceness of his struggle and the completeness of the victory. 

P. P. Bliss, the predecessor of Sankey with Mr. Moody, wrote the 
music for this hymn. "It Is Well with My Soul" became very famous 
and appeared in many hymnbooks; it is still sung in many Protestant 

Hymns that are the fruit of anguish victoriously overcome are 
bound to bring blessing. I have sat by the bedside of a woman dying 
of cancer and, holding her limp and clammy hand, have quietly sung 
this hymn over and over again. I have sung it by other bedsides as 
war after war came to Jerusalem; once, by the bed of a private from 
the Argyle and Sutherland Regiment, taken prisoner by the Turks 
before Jerusalem was delivered by Allenby s army in 1917. Blood 
poisoning was in an advanced stage, and we had very little medicine 
and no narcotics to alleviate his suffering. He was doomed, and his 
agony was great. I sat by him hour upon hour and sang softly, "It 
is well with my soul." Just before the end he looked up into my face. 
"Sister, you have fought half this battle." 

Innumerable letters have told me the same story in different ways, 
as the hymn affected and helped the despondent and despairing. I 
turned on the radio once at random and heard a faint voice coming 
from a remote station telling the story of the writing of the hymn. 
Another time I was standing in a snowstorm on Riverside Drive, in 
New York, waiting for a bus, when I heard the carillon in the tower 
of Riverside Church send forth its lovely message in music, "It is 
well with my soul." I stood transfixed with joy and wonder, tears 
rolled down my cheeks. I let one bus after another pass, and was 
late for my luncheon engagement, but I could not tear myself away 
from the spot until the hymn was finished. 

On Christmas Eve Father and Mother were in Paris. Of their 
Ejecting Mother never spoke. Some things are too sacred to mention. 

This had always been their happiest season, with candles and tinsel 
on the tree, and evergreen, holly, and mistletoe decorating the cot 
tage "joyous with the merriment of children," as one friend wrote. 


In Paris, where they had planned so much of happiness, memories of 
other years must have crushed them. What did they do at this time 
of almost unbearable depression? 

A letter from the Rev. Theodore Monod holds the answer: 

Christmas Eve, 1873 

Our Christmas tree is over; the hymns are sung, the addresses are 
among the things of the past; the many brilliant lights have burned 
themselves away or have been extinguished, as all earthly joys must be. 

Mr. Weiss was with us and spoke, as you might expect him to do, of 
his recent experience, alluding also to the dear children who on the 
Sunday November 17th sang, "I want to be an angel," and before the 
week was over were singing in heaven. I was not at all surprised that you, 
my dear friends, should have both kept away and spent the evening 
quietly, prayerfully, tearfully, hopefully, one with another, but I was 
surprised when I got home and found that parcel. At first we could not 
tell where it had come from; then the handwriting (I once received a 
letter from you), the remembrance of your taking down those five names 
on Saturday, and I shall add, the sweet sad words "from the children," 
told us from what hand, no, from what heart came the pretty presents, so 
thoughtfully chosen, so well adapted to each. But ah! with such tender 
memories clinging to them, such brotherly affection, such truly Christian 
fellowship of your sorrows with our joys, as made us look upon those 
playthings with tears in our eyes. Oh, may "the Father mercies and the 
God of all comfort" continue to uphold you, to pour into your stricken 
hearts the fullness of his love, and to make that love and power visible 
to others through you. 

Thursday evening Christmas Day 

The children are in possession of their treasures, highly delighted and 
thankful. Marcel, who never yet had a plaything given him, smiled at 
the bright little doll. I fear I shall not be able to gq and shake hands with 
you today, but we are with you in spirit, nor do we forget your friend i 
Major Goodwin. 4 


On Christmas Eve Mother wrote her friend Maiy Miller in 
Chicago who had taken refuge with her during the Great Fire: 

Paris, December 24, 1873 


I received your letter this morning. It was very sweet of you to re 
member me in this time of sadness for me but joy to my dear children. 

Yes, Mary all are gone Home so early. How thankful I am that 
their little lives were so early dedicated to their Master. Now He has 


called them to Himself. I thought I was going, too, but my work is not 
yet finished. May the dear Lord give me strength to do His will. The dear 
children were so brave. They died praying. Annie said to Maggie and me 
just before we were swept off the steamer, "Don t be frightened Maggie, 
God will take care of us, we can trust Him; and you know, Mama, The 
sea is His and He made it.* " These were her last words. Maggie and 
Bessie prayed very sweetly. I have much to comfort me, Mary; they are 
not lost, only separated for a season. I will go to them only a few years 
at the longest. 

Dear little Tanetta sang all the day before we were wrecked "The 
sweet bye and bye" ... If I never believed in religion before, I have 
had strong proof of it now. We have been so sustained, so comforted. 
God has sent peace in our hearts. He has answered our prayers. His will 
be done. I would not have my children back again in this wicked 
world. . . . 

Shortly after this my parents left for England on their way home. 
Before leaving Paris a telegram came from Mr. Moody saying he 
would meet them in London. He and Mr. Sankey were conducting 
the revival meetings in Edinburgh that were making them world- 

Mother told me that when Mr. Moody met them, in the hotel in 
London, his sorrow was so great over the loss of the children that 
she had to comfort him. 

I can well imagine this meeting, for I remember Mr. Moody s 
coming to the American Colony in Jerusalem after Father s death. 
He was a thickset, short, and highly emotional man, who always wore 
long frock coats. With my sister Grace on his knee, he wept un 
ashamed for the loss of his friend until two pools of water were 
formed on the floor by his tears. I met Mr. Sankey, too, in Jerusalem, 
the same year the Kaiser visited the Holy City. I was eighteen and 
had been to Jericho and had "Jericho boils" on my face and a swollen 
nose, caused, we now know, by the bite of an insect. Mr. Sankey had 
called on Mother, and Mother insisted that I go to see him. So I did, 
and Mr. Sankey seemed astonished by my appearance, but he did 
not say anything. He was not so demonstrative as Mr. Moody. 

With an understanding few could give, Mr. Moody divined my 
parents* struggle against their natural inclinations to indulge in sor 
row. He also realized that a disastrous reaction might follow this 
high resolve when they reached their empty house, unless a power 
stronger than their grief upheld them. He knew their present state of 
trust and faith must be sustained. He begged Mother not to stay at 
home, where every room, silenced by the absence of her children, 
would remind her of what had been. 

"Annie, you must go into my work," Mr* Moody told my mother. 
"You must be so busy helping those who have gone into the depths 


of despair that you will overcome your own affliction by bringing 
comfort and salvation to others." 

Mother promised to follow his advice. 

The anguish of their homecoming cannot be visualized. Aunty 
Sims was first to greet them, convulsed in tears on the doorstep. Well- 
meaning friends, in the custom of the period, had had the latest 
photographs of the four little girls enlarged, and they were on easels 
in the living room, the sweet faces surrounded by festoons of smilax. 
Upstairs four little beds stood empty and four dressers filled with 
garments that would never be worn by them again. Toys, books, 
lesson papers were reminders of all that had been. 

Saddest of all was the attic, where four rows of little rubber boots 
and all the paraphernalia of winter sports bespoke the merriment that 
once had filled this house and grounds. Last of all, the childishly 
scrawled letters were found in the play post office in the elm tree. 

Only Rob, Father s nephew, was left, and he was away at school. 

Mother followed Mr. Moody s advice and plunged into his relief 

She had not taken much active part in charitable or philanthropic 
work before. "Charity began at home," and she believed her duty lay 
in making an agreeable home for Father and bringing up four small 
children in Christian ideals. Only a brief period spent on the board 
of the Home of the Friendless and the months of relief activity fol 
lowing the Chicago Fire had prepared her for the extensive and 
important work she now took on. Mr. Moody put her in charge of all 
women s activities for Chicago. Mother realized she was handicapped 
by inexperience, and remonstrated with Mr. Moody, but he would 
not take no. 

Mother did not like serving as the impersonal executive of an ever 
growing organization. She preferred coming in actual contact with 
the women and doing the real work. She appointed her friend Miss 
Emma Dryer, one of Mr. Moody s workers, to act as her advisor. It 
proved a happy choice, for Miss Dryer served first as a shadow 
executive and later took over and held the official position. 

Mother s approach to the women s work and her theories in aiding 
them were original and her experiences many and varied. She saw a 
seamy side of Chicago life far removed from the placid existence at 
Lake View. 

A friend wrote of this period in Mother s life 

. . . she devoted almost her entire time to Christian and philan 
thropic work. She was the first woman, I believe, who in Chicago en 
couraged mothers meetings. They met once a week in the church par 
lors, and there she taught many a mother to pray. In the meantime 
your father led the noon prayer meeting at Farwell Hall. 


Mother told me that the women who attended her mothers meet 
ings were of many nationalities and some were especially vocal in 
complaining about their lot. Frequently their complaints were about 
their husbands who used most of their earnings for drink. In a state 
of intoxication the husband would return home with little or no 
money left, to find hungry children crying, a harried wife infuriated 
by his conduct, and no supper. Unpleasant words would end in a 
violent quarrel; more often than not the wife got a beating. The poor 
woman would then complain to Mother about her husband, and 
black-and-blue marks would be proof of her story. 

Mother, incensed, would get Father to prosecute the guilty man. 
But when the time came to take evidence against her husband the 
wife would invariably take her husband s part, and the case would 
be dropped. Mother learned by experience that the best way was to 
let them "worry it through" and settle their quarrels themselves. 

But she was a sympathetic listener and gave sensible advice. Be 
cause she put her life and soul into the work, she was successful. 

I remember Mother telling of a predicament she found herself in 
when in following Mr. Moody s work she was put in charge of the 
rescue work for fallen women. One meeting affected a girl so much 
that she wanted to leave her degraded life. Mother knew she should 
be taken out of it at once, but where could the girl go? Mother ap 
plied to one home and institution after another, none of which was 
prepared to accept a girl straight from a "house of ill fame." Mother 
was like the little girl who went to the prayer meeting for rain carry 
ing an umbrella she expected results. 

She felt with keen indignation this defect in the rescue work, that 
there was no new environment ready in which these poor derelicts 
could be fitted once they were saved. 

There was nothing to do but take on the girl s support for a period 
of years. She married happily at last and raised a family of healthy 

In this pioneer welfare work I do not think Mother was so much 
shocked by what she saw as by the complacency of the rich who 
permitted such things to be. 

The years following the shipwreck were anxious ones, but also 
rich in spiritual experience to my parents. In Father s letter to 
Mother, written before he knew of the loss of his children, he spoke 
of Ms growing distaste for giving so much of his life to the struggle 
after money. The struggle even seemed dangerous to his spiritual 
peace; and this feeling must have increased as the months passed into 
years. Possessions seemed unimportant in the light of his recent expe 
rience, which gave him a feeling that everything was transient. 


His letters and notes at this time are revealing, as are the poems 
and hymns he composed. Studying both sides in legal fashion, he 
pondered the question of future punishment. "I was , * . surprised 
to find how many devout and learned men, in every age, had believed 
in the final universal triumph of God s love." "Who is there who 
would not wish to believe if the Word will permit it, in the eventual 
restoration of all?" A hymn, inspired by one of the Psalms, begins: 

There s darkness all round in my earthly affairs, 

Wave following wave, tribulation and cares; 

My way is shut up on the left and the right; 

And yet t I ve a mind for a song in the night, 

A song in the night a song in the night, 

My heart, canst thou give Him a song in the night? 

A little book of his poetry, Waiting for the Morning, was printed 
privately for distribution among his friends, and met with so much 
more appreciation than had been expected that it was reprinted for 
public sle. 

When, in 1876, Mr. Moody rebuilt his tabernacle on the north 
side of Chicago, Father found means to help him financially, and 
wrote the dedication hymn beginning: 

Our Father, God, Eternal one! 
And Thou, the living cornerstone! 
And Holy Spirit one and three 
We dedicate this house to Thee! 

Take for Thine own, and write in power, 
Thy name on wall and shaft and tower; 
And make it, by Thy blessing given, 
A house of God a gate of heaven. 

I find it difficult to interpret to this modern generation Father s 
and Mother s attitude toward life at this time and throughout the 
following years without making them seem impractical, fanatical, nar 
row, and visionary. They were none of these things. The world has so 
changed in its outlook, its conceptions, its manners, and its vocabu 
lary in the last threescore years that the problems which were impor 
tant to them then seem almost unintelligible and meaningless now. 
Therefore it is hard to do them justice. 

This period must have been difficult for my parents in every way. 
Their religious life was undergoing a transition nothing was quite 

On November 16, 1876, a little boy came to the childless home at 
Lake View. 


He was my parents first and only son, and was named Horatio, 
after Father and Grandfather. Also he was named Goertner, for 
Goertner Goodwin, my sisters playmate who had gone down with 
them on the Ville du Havre. 

Little Horatio was a healthy baby, and his birth must have seemed 
like a renewal of life to Father and Mother. 

In a letter written by a friend in 1876, Father is described as 
"walking up and down in the living room at Lake View, holding his 
baby son and talking about his Heavenly Father and heaven in the 
most intimate and homelike fashion. . . ." 

In another letter written by Miss Dryer from Mr. Moody s home 
in Northfield: 

Mr. and Mrs. Moody talk of you affectionately. He, I think, has a deep 
interest in your financial troubles. In talking about them one evening he 
said that he thought Mr. Spafford would do well to resume his practice of 
law until this hard time is passed. He spoke of Mr. S s success in the 
past and that he was in a fair position to succeed again. . . . 

I get no comfort except from the promises. How glad I am to know 
that they cannot fail. 

I think these last words expressed Father s sentiments as well. He 
had found the things people strove after in this world as sinking sand 
under his feet, and he longed now only to build "on the rock," where 
the rain could descend, the floods beat, and the winds blow, but his 
house would stand. 

In this rather difficult period, on March 24, 1878, I was born, and 
named for Mrs. Bertha Johnson, who had been so kind to Mother in 
Paris. It proves how near and dear our family doctor had become, 
for I was also given his family name, and became Bertha Hedges 

In February of 1880 Mother was taking little Horatio and me 
away for a visit. I am not sure where we were going, but it must have 
been some distance from Chicago, for we were on a train when she 
noticed we both had fever. Before we reached our destination she 
left the train and caught the next train back to Chicago. Her one idea 
was to be near Dr. Hedges. She had to wait in a stuffy waiting room 
with two sick babies, then came the long journey back, when she 
could see we were growing more ill with every passing mile; then the 
scramble to catch "The Dummy" to Lake View. 

Peter, who had been telegraphed to, met us with the horse and 
buggy. Father was away on business. It was snowing, and the flakes 
swirled in the driving wind and settled on us in the open buggy. The 


air was bitterly cold, and cold, too, was the house, for the furnace 
had been allowed to go out with the family away. 

Dr. Hedges diagnosed our malady as scarlet fever. Horatio had 
also taken a bad cold and was dropping off into a coma. Father was 
telegraphed to, but reached home only in time to witness the death 
of his little son on February 11, 1880. 


MOTHER never spoke of little Horatio s death. It was a blow 
that time never softened. 

She could not go to the cemetery. She had to take care of me. Also, 
she had a horror of the grave. She wanted to think of her little boy 
with her four daughters in heaven. 

Our house was in quarantine and only a few learned of this new 
sorrow and came unsummoned to the funeral The tiny white coffin 
was taken to the family plot in Graceland Cemetery and Father read 
the funeral service. 

Many wondered at his doing this. Gossip filled in gaps and dis 
torted facts. 

Among my treasures is a little cardboard box found in Father s 
desk after his death in Jerusalem. In it are some faded flowers bound 
with white ribbon and the words: "Flowers from little Horatio s 
funeral." He brought this with him to Jerusalem when so little was 
taken. No one knew how deep was the grief he and Mother shared 
in losing their four-year-old son. 

Mother s letters to friends after my brother died show perfect faith 
and trust* They would shock some people, who would have under 
stood her mourning better with a touch of self-pity. People love to 
pity others, but pity was the last thing my parents wanted. 

After Horatio s death Father wrote the hymn, "A Song in the 
Night," which, set to music by Mr. George O Stebbins, was sung by 
our choir when the American Colony celebrated its jubilee in 1931, 
commemorating the fiftieth anniversay of the arrival of my parents 
and their group of friends in Jerusalem. 

Long time I dared not say to Thee 

Lord, work Thou Thy mil with me, 
But now so plain Thy love I see 

1 shrink no more from sorrow. 


So true, true and faithful is He, 

Kind is my Savior; 

Alike in gladness and in woe t 

I thank Him who hath loved me so. . . . 


My parents were trying to practice what they had come to believe 
since the shipwreck through heart-searching wrestling with doubt and 
fear. It was not easy to see wisdom in affliction, or reconcile God s 
dealing with God s love. Since the church held sorrow to be retribu 
tion for sin, the tone of conversations with friends and acquaintances 
after Horatio s death stressed again the question raised when the four 
little girls died: 

"What have the Spafiords done to be so afflicted?" 

The Spaffords had long asked themselves the same question. Now 
they could only pray for endurance and strength. Father wrote to a 
friend: "There is just one thing in these days has become magnifi 
cently clear I must not lose faith." 

The most eloquent proof of their struggle was in Mother s saying 
"I will say God is love until I believe it!" 

The first shock of total misunderstanding came when one of the 
leaders of the evangelist group that had met so often in our home in 
Lake View, and a friend they had trusted to understand their motives, 
came to Father and Mother to ask if they would like him to adopt 

Why this offer was made I do not know. I was two years old and 
the only child left to my parents out of a family of six. 

The request opened a wound that only by the grace of God could 
Father and Mother forgive. It was the first crushing blow of many 
that culminated in their decision to leave Chicago, for a time at least. 
The hitherto vague idea that someday they would go to Jerusalem to 
watch the fulfillment of prophecy on the spot, and perhaps find re 
freshment of the body, soul, and spirit there, became resolute. 

From the day of that offer they began to make definite plans for 
the journey. 

A year after Horatio s death there is an entry in Father s note 
book: "Little Grace was born this morning at 6:30, Jan. 18th, 1881." 

Mother was very ill when Grace was born. She lay in her bed 
exhausted and weak, wondering what to name this baby who had 
come as a godsend after her little son s death. She went over in her 
mind the names of the four little girls who romped no more through 
the house no, they were not lost, she could not name this baby after 
one of them. 

Her eyes rested on an illuminated text hanging on the wall. 

"My grace is sufficient for thee." 

So my sister became Grace Spafford, without any addition of 
a middle name. 

She was born while Father and Mother were completing their 
plans to go to Jerusalem. 


I did not realize until I was reading letters written at this time that 
the move was supposed to be temporary. 

When the time came my parents walked out of their lovely home, 
leaving everything valuable furniture, paintings, silver, linen, a li 
brary of several thousand books the accumulation of more than 
twenty years of married life, and a friend and his family came in and 
took possession. 

Only a single trunk went with us to Jerusalem. 

If Father had lived, I think he would have returned to Chicago. 
He was seeking peace and solace for mind and soul. He was leaving 
the center of a controversy he was tired of, and hoped to be able to 
see things plainly and more in perspective. In a letter to a friend he 

Jerusalem is where my Lord lived, suffered, and conquered, and I 
wish to learn how to live, suffer, and especially to conquer. 

He and Mother had no grandiose plans or expectations of what 
their going to Jerusalem would mean to anyone but themselves. 

But that was far too simple a reason to satisfy the curious, and 
human nature is credulous of spectacular rumors that make a good 

Father and Mother had battled with doubt; they had come to be 
lieve in the truth of God s love; they were winning. 

They had come to believe that the blows that had been dealt them 
were not in punishment for their sins. 

They could not believe that their innocent babies, or any other 
babies, were in hell. Father probed further he could no longer be 
lieve in a tangible hell or a personal devil. 

Naturally this doctrine exploded the idea of eternal punishment, 
and this was contrary to what was then the tenets of the Orthodox 
Presbyterian Church. 

Father was not one to keep his discovery to himself. He wanted 
to share his comprehension of God s all-embracing love. Father ex 
pressed himself freely, perhaps too freely. He made a prodigious 
effort to express the state of his soul, and it was misunderstood. It 
shocked the complacent; it brought to a head a controversy that 
stirred Chicago. The newspapers took it up, and in their misunder 
standing of the vital core of his belief and their misrepresentation of 
the facts it took on the ridiculous. 

Father and Mother were asked to leave the Fullerton Avenue Pres 
byterian Church, the church Father had helped to build, the church 
of which he was an elder, the church where my sisters and brother had 
been baptized, the church they loved 


This arbitrary act caused a rift in the church. A number of their 
friends, among them Mr. and Mrs. John E. Whiting, church mem 
bers who admired Father and Mother for their courage in adversity 
and sorrow, walked out of the church at the same time, in protest. 

This rift was the last thing Father and Mother wanted. The un 
pleasant publicity it caused was obnoxious and distressing to them. 
Now they longed to get away. A complete break was necessary to 
brace them to take up life anew. 

Perhaps the sojourn to Jerusalem and the Holy Land would help! 
Perhaps there, where the "Man of Sorrows," acquainted with grief 
yet triumphant, had walked the shores of Galilee and the hills of 
Judea, His life and passion would be revealed in such a way that life 
would again bring consolation. 

They set a definite date for departure. 

The Church suffers from its symbolism: presenting an immortal 
truth in the terms of the time and generation. Years pass, and a whole 
new set of mental pictures and cosmic conceptions take the place of 
the old, which lose their value and become meaningless. 

Less than a decade after this, in 1890, when the New York Pres 
bytery discussed the revision of the Westminster Confession, the 
revered minister Dr. Henry van Dyke declared: "I intend to teach 
that there are no infants in hell and that there is no limit to God s 
love, and that no man is punished save for his own sin." 

By this time no one thought this teaching strange. Dr. van Dyke s 
announcement had the full approval of the church. Even ten years 
had wrought a tremendous change in religious outlook. Father, for 
coming to the same conclusion, was turned out of the church. 

Father lived ahead of his day. His belief had been too liberal too 

One after another, friends learned of my parents final plans to visit 
Jerusalem and asked if they might join them on their pilgrimage. 
Many of those who had left the church with them wished to go. Then 
others wanted to join the party, and there was much coming and 
going and meetings and conferences as to what should be planned 
and what taken, for travel was not the easy matter it became later and 
Jerusalem seemed at the other end of the world. 

By this time the Chicago press had become aware that a group of 
people were meeting at Lake View for closer religious fellowship and 
were planning a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Father and Mother 
and their friends were subjected to a campaign of ridicule. The cot 
tage was invaded by reporters who left to write stinging banter. A 


great deal was said In the meetings about "overcomers," and accused 
them of thinking they were the only people capable of defeating evil. 
One newspaper article stated: 

A singular sect of Christians which has recently arisen in one of the 
northern suburbs of Chicago is known as the "Overcomers." They be 
lieve in personal inspiration, in direct communication with God, and in 
the literal rendering of the Scriptures as applied to mundane affairs, and 
in the final salvation of all the universe, including the devil. A party 
under the leadership of Mr. Spafford is about to go to Jerusalem to build 
up the ruined places. 

Mother wrote to a friend: 

A reporter came to see me this week. He asked what was the foun 
dation of our religion, and I told him "to love the Lord God with all 
our hearts and one s neighbor as one s self." He read me what had been 
given him by an "influential Christian," and it was that I went into 
trances, etc., and wore spiritualistic emblems (which was my poor 
little pin of ivory with a cherub s head you know it). Although I de 
nied his statements I am afraid his article will appear in the paper. 

I have mentioned that a number of people who left the church 
when my parents were asked to leave, accompanied them to Jeru 
salem. But there were others who remained behind. Their connection 
with the church had been severed, and they were left unattached and 
without leadership. Father warned them to be wary of dissension, but 
his warnings were ignored. 

Before our group reached Palestine there was dispute among the 
Lake View remainder. 

When the baby of one of the members died, and another member 
refused to allow it to be buried, claiming she would raise it from the 
dead, an end came to the little group. The scandalous episode came 
out, with much unpleasant publicity, and some of the group, instead 
of placing the blame on their own gullibility, blamed Father and 
Mother as having originally founded the Lake View Group. The fact 
that Father had warned them against this happening seemed to make 
them more resentful. Some were to go so far as to send violent letters 
denouncing us to the English Mission and to the Consul of the United 
States in Jerusalem, Garbled rumors flew ahead of the pilgrims. 

Not all those left in Lake View became our enemies. Some re 
mained loyal. Others relented later and wrote asking forgiveness, and 
some even joined us in Jerusalem. 

But abuse always travels faster than praise, and a religious perse 
cution had been started. 

For many years the stories continued to grow wilder on either side 
of the Atlantic. Any bit of fact was magnified, to spread eight thou- 


sand miles. Among the many absurd claims Father was accused of 
thinking himself the second Messiah. 

Subtlest of all accusations, because it wore a sham mantle of 
magnanimity, was that "poor Mr. and Mrs. Spafford have suffered so 
much they are unbalanced." 

Some reports were vicious, others harmful, all untrue. 

A story which appeared in the Chicago papers soon ofter our 
arrival in Jerusalem was that we went every afternoon to the Mount 
of Olives to wait for the Lord s arrival, and made a cup of tea so we 
would be the first to give Him refreshment. 

As always, there is a sliver of truth in this tall tale. 

One of our favorite walks was to the Mount of Olives. We took 
simple picnic spreads on these expeditions, and, since we quickly 
met many English people in Jerusalem, Mother soon learned to take 
along the proverbial tea basket without which no outing was complete 
for our British friends. 

However, the story persisted through the years, and only a short 
time ago I met a lady in New York who, when she heard I had lived 
many years in Jerusalem, said: "You don t belong to that group of 
people, do you, who went every day to the Mount of Olives and pre 
pared tea for Christ s second coming?" 

I told her that as far as I knew no such group ever existed. She 
retorted: "Oh, don t spoil a good story; I have often told it." 

On August 17, 1881, the band of pilgrims left Chicago. Father 
wrote in his tiny pocket diary: 

"Started for Europe at 9:10 P.M. [for Jerusalem via Quebec]." 

Thfcy chose the shorter though colder route to England in pref 
erence to the longer one to France, which would have carried them 
over the scene of the sinking of the Ville du Havre. 

With my parents was my sister Grace, seven months old, myself, 
aged three years and five months, Cousin Rob, grown to a tall, good- 
looking, brilliant boy of nineteen who teased me a great deal and was 
the love of my life, Aunt Maggie Lee, whose husband had recently 
died, Mrs. William Gould, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Whiting and their 
baby Ruth, eleven months old, Mr. William H. Rudy, Mrs. Caroline 
Merriman, Mr. and Mrs. Otis S. Page and their daughter Flora, about 
ten years old, and Nora, the daughter of Mother s washwoman at Lake 
View, who came along as nurse to Grace and me. Aunty Sims had 

Mrs. Gould and Mother had worked together on the committee of 
the "Home for the Friendless," and formed a friendship that was per 
haps the most cherished of Mother s life. Mrs. Gould s husband, with 


Ms brother John, had a large wholesale grocery business in Chicago. 
Mr. Gould had fallen ill, come with his wife to our home in Lake 
View, and remained there until he died. Mrs. Gould was intelligent 
and aristocratic, with gracious manners. The Gould family played an 
important role in the life of my parents and the history of the Ameri 
can Colony. 

Mr. Page had been a salesman for Mr. Gould. 

Mr. Rudy was an Easterner who had been the proprietor of flour 
mills, and after a serious illness retired from business. Mrs. Merriman 
was his foster mother. 

Mr. and Mr. Whiting were among those who had left the Fullerton 
Presbyterian Church when Father and Mother were asked to leave. 
Mr. Whiting came originally from Massachusetts and was related to 
the famous paper manufacturers although he had no share in the busi 
ness. Mrs. Whiting, his mother, was still living, a dear old lady, wholly 
in sympathy with her son s desire to go to Jerusalem. Mrs. Whiting s 
mother was also living, but she was not in sympathy, and later played 
an important though unhappy part in the history of the American 

In London the group was joined by Captain and Mrs. W. C. 
Sylvester. , * 

Some years before Captain Sylvester had been the youngest captain 
in the British Army. He had broken first one kneecap, then the 
other, each time by slipping on icy pavements, and was forced to 
retire from active service. He came with his wife to Chicago, where 
once more, on an icy winter morning, he slipped and smashed the 
first kneecap which had been sown with silver wire. This time it had 
to be entirely removed, and the captain was told he would never walk 

During this period of his invalidism Father met him, and the two 
men and their wives became friends. 

Captain Sylvester had returned to England, determined that his 
broken knees should not prevent his living a useful life. He turned 
evangelist, and in a specially constructed van equipped with many 
conveniences he and his wife toured England and Scotland preaching, 
the Gospel. 

If their labor and this pilgrimage had resulted in only one con 
version which was to mean so much to the country of Palestine, it 
was ample reward. For Dr. Herbert Torrence once told me it was 
Captain Sylvester s preaching and his brave fight against his physical 
impediment that helped him make his own choice and become a 
iBedical missionary. Dr. Torrence started the Scottish Seaman s 
Medical Mission on the lake shore at ^Tiberias which for more than 
fifty years gave the only medical help the native people had for miles 


around. His son, Dr. Herbert Torrence, Junior, followed in his 
father s footsteps and continued the work of healing in the name of the 
Master. In the summer of 1946, despite the troubles in the Holy 
Land, Dr. Torrence celebrated twenty-five years of work, and Arabs, 
Jews, and British and American Christians joined in honoring this 
great but unassuming man. 

The Sylvesters loved children and had lost their only son. Once, 
I remember, the captain asked me to kiss him, and I said, "I will if 
you ll lift up your fringes." He laughed that contagious laugh that 
drew everyone to him and drew up his mustache for the kiss. 

This and a ride on the old elephant Jumbo, who gave his name to 
all succeeding elephants, comprise practically all my memories of our 
stay in London. 

Our arrival in England did not go unnoticed. The following para 
graph appeared in an English newspaper, dated September 8, 1881: 

H. C. Sp afford, of Lake View, leader of the new sect of "Overcomers," 
arrived in London with a band of these peculiar believers, including sev 
eral children, en route to Palestine. They will proceed to the Mount of 
Olives, where they expect to receive a new and direct revelation from 
the Lord. 


And then 1 saw Jerusalem. . . . 

A city from the skies let down 

To be henceforth the "whole earth s Crown 

Set mid the Holy Land. 


IT WAS a warm September day in 1881, and Father, Mother, 
and the rest of our group were bumping over the rough cobblestone 
road leaving Jaffa for Jerusalem in several high, uncomfortable spring 

Around us, though I did not know it then, lay the Holy Land. I was 
to become familiar with the utter desolation of the country arid from 
the long, dry months of summer and the choking reddish dust coating 
the road and hills. Such aridity, Cousin Rob wrote in a letter home, 
would bring famine to another Iand 3 and the Chicago pilgrims found 
it difficult to believe that the rains would soon come, making the hills 
green and filling the plains with fruits, vegetables, and brilliant 

I had a vague remembrance of our home in Lake View, but the 
journey across the Atlantic I do not remember at all. I do not recall 
our short stay in Jaffa, which we were leaving behind us, hidden in 
the dust of our small caravan. Jaffa had been the principal port of the 
Israelites, the portion given by tribal division to Dan. At Jaffa Jonah 
had taken ship to escape being sent to Nineveh. Hiram s Phoenician 
workmen brought there the floats of cedar for Solomon s temple. On 
a reef of low rocks running parallel to Jaffa s shore, according to 
Greek legend, Andromeda was chained while threatened by the sea 
monster or dragon, until her rescue by Perseus. Saint George, whose 
birthplace was at Lydda near Jaffa, had his opposition to paganism 
symbolized in local legend by Perseus s dragon. 

At Jaffa, where the lighthouse now overlooks the Mediterranean, 
stood the house of Simon the Tanner, where the Apostle Peter sat on 
the housetop, waiting the preparation of the evening meal, and saw 
the vision of the sheet let down from heaven which prepared him for 
his mission to Cornelius, the Centurion at Caesarea. 


There was no actual port in Jaffa then. Passengers were brought 
ashore in small boats, weather permitting, and not even mail could 
be dropped when the rocky coast was lashed by tempest. How long 
ingly we were to await the mail held at Jaffa by storm or quarantine 
so that it was late in arriving. Normal delivery from America took 
three cr four weeks. For imaginary or real cholera scares the Turkish 
and Egyptian governments indulged in reciprocally imposing quaran 
tine on each other s passengers and mail, and letters were received 
punched full of holes and smelling of sulphur. 

We were to spend many pleasant holidays in Jaffa, where ever 
green orange groves formed an ever-increasing circle around the 
town. The world-famous Jaffa orange was developed and exported by 
Arabs many years before. Up to World War II the orange industry 
accounted for almost the whole of Palestine s income from export. 

The American-made spring wagons that were carrying us to Jeru 
salem had been brought to Palestine by a group of "Latter-Day 
Saints" who had come from Maine, I believe, about twenty years 
before, bringing prefabricated farmhouses in sections that they set up 
near Jaffa, where some are still standing. They introduced modern 
for that time fanning implements, including wagons, to the Holy 

Among remaining members of this colony at Jaffa, occupying their 
original houses, were Mr. and Mrs. Rolla Floyd, who proved such 
wonderful friends, and Mr. Herbert Clark, representative of Thomas 
Cook and Son, and who was in charge of our transportation, as we 
were traveling on Cook s tickets. Because the high wagon seat ter 
rified me, Mr. Clark held me on his knee all the way to Jerusalem. 

I do not remember my first glimpse of Jerusalem. To me, it has 
always been home. But I know how it appeared to the others, climb 
ing 2,700 feet over the dusty plain to the hills surrounding Jerusalem 
on the Judean watershed about thirty miles from the Mediterranean 
and twenty miles from the Dead Sea. The old city stands on four hills, 
surrounded by historic walls, and set with mosques and minarets, 
Herodean towers, and crowded ancient houses, their flat roofs set 
with domes. 

We stopped first at the Mediterranean Hotel, situated just inside 
the Jaffa Gate. It was the only European hotel, and was kept by 
Mr. and Mrs. Moses Hornstein, who, with their daughters, did all 
they could to make the newcomers comfortable and initiate them into 
the strange new ways of this strange and difficult land. 

I remember the hotel very well, for I was put to bed early one 
night and was wakened by the moon rising, an immense globe of 
molten silver, over the Mount of Olives. I had never seen the moon 
rise, and I dashed downstairs in my little nightgown and into the din- 


ing room where the hotel guests were assembled at dinner to announce: 
"The Lord has come!" 

The amusement that met this puzzled me. 

We stayed six weeks at the hotel, while the Group went sightseeing, 
to the Holy Sepulcher and the Jews Wailing Place, and, often and 
repeatedly, to the Mount of Olives, usually in the late afternoons to 
watch the lovely sunsets. Father s diary held many notes of "walks 
about Jerusalem." I think he felt very much as Dr. Henry van Dyke 
did later when he wrote Out-of-Doors in the Holy Land. Father loved 
walking about the curious narrow streets, and, most of all, in the 
country around Jerusalem; this, he wrote, "is the land that makes one 
feel Christ s presence." 

On October 4 he notes: 

"We are looking at Jerusalem houses." 

The Group had arrived without plans, and it seemed feasible that 
all should live together. Some had money, others had none, but this 
made no difference, nor would it ever do so. 

They were shown many houses, but one appealed to them most 
because it "stood on a hill with its nose in the air," as it were, a point 
to be considered in an oriental city without sufficient water, drains, 
or the rudiments of sanitation and hygiene. The house was on the tip 
of the hill Bezetha, the highest spot in the walled city, between the 
Damascus Gate and Herod s Gate, and overlooked both the old and 
the new sections of Jerusalem. 

It was not quite finished, and belonged to an officer in the Turkish 
gendarmerie, or mounted police. At this time Palestine was under 
Turkish rule and had been for four hundred years. This officer, 
Yousef Aga Dusdar, was an Albanian by birth. Later he became a 
colonel of the Turkish gendarmerie and was known as Yousef Bey; 
still later he performed the pilgrimage to Mecca and became a haj. 
Father paid our landlord forty napoleons, French gold pieces, in 
advance. The first payment was made on the first of Muharram, the 
Moslem New Year. The Moslem calendar, being lunar, is shorter than 
ours by thirteen days, so that in thirty-three years one pays an extra 
year s rent. 

Before our Group bought the house, we had lived in it long enough 
to pay Yousef Bey for that extra year. 

Father noted improvements to be made, and we stayed in the 
hotel until the house was finished. A railing around the roof he con 
sidered important as a safety provision, for roofs are much used in 
Palestine. Downstairs there were no windows at all, so Father had 
windows cut, and barred, as all windows, upstairs and down, are in 

Next to this house was a smaller and older house and garden which 


the Group also rented, paying twenty-two napoleons. There was still 
another in which Father had his study and sometimes it was used for 
extra lodgings. We called it the "down-to-the-other house." 

The houses were ready by October 9, and we were glad to escape 
from the hotel. Our combined luggage consisted of twelve or fourteen 
large trunks and "no end of parcels." According to Rob, the entire lot 
was carried from the hotel and up the hill to the new house, a quarter 
of a mile, on Arab backs for $1.60. Wages were extremely low, Rob 
comments in a letter. A man worked hard to earn $5.00 a month and 
would carry two hundred pounds on his back as much as a camel 
would carry to any part of the city for eight or ten cents. 

Rob was nineteen, and his notebook and copies of his letters form 
a sort of diary which gives a vivid though juvenile picture of the 
conditions under which the Group labored in those early days. 

Customs and practices have changed since then, and Rob s descrip 
tions do not represent life in present-day Jerusalem. 

"It is a beautiful house," Rob wrote, "although a little damp 
because of its newness. Dampness is common because of the thick 
ness of the walls, which are from three to five feet thick and of white 
stone." Little wood was used in Jerusalem s houses, as it was scarce 
and expensive. All the roofs were fiat with domes, so the walls had to 
be substantial, and, Rob added: "The city looks at a distance like a 
village of prairie dogs." 

Rob gave a good description of it: 

Our house is on the highest point of the city and so we have delightful 
air and are not troubled by the terrible filth of the low portions of the 
city. ... 

Read in your Bible the curses against Jerusalem and this land and 
you will get an exact description of it today. The center of the city lies 
in the Tyropean Valley. It rises in the east toward the Mount of Olives 
on two hills, Moriah and Bezetha, and on the west toward the Jaffa Gate 
to Mount Zion and Acra. Mount Zion is the Armenian Christian quar 
ter and many of the English live there. S. west is the Jewish quarter and 
the east and n. east is the Mohammedan, while the south east is the 
Temple site, on Mount Bezetha, and accordingly in the Moslem quar 
ter. We are up so high that no one disturbs us. The Church of the Holy 
Sepulcher is in the center of the city and quite unlikely to be the authen 
tic spot. 

Around us were Moslem, Jewish, and Mohammedan slums, so 
closely set that we could not trace the narrow streets. 

Jerusalem lay at our feet. It seemed beautiful then. It will be beauti 
ful again. 

By night the city was dark and mysterious-looking. Only kerosene 
lamps lighted the streets and houses. Those who ventured into the 


dark carried kerosene lanterns. These cast only feeble flutters of light. 

The house itself was large and comfortable. It was the first home I 

really remember, and it was to be my home for many years. It is now 

the Anna Spafford Baby Nursing Home, named in honor of my 


Our group lived together as one large and happy family. Only those 
I have mentioned, who came from Chicago with Father and Mother, 
were members then, but others joined, and many years later the 
Colony grew to contain as many as one hundred and fifty. 

How strange and primitive the new life must have seemed to the 
Group. The house hunting and furnishing, employing of servants, 
and the many problems connected with the new life were confusing 
and perplexing at times. 

Rob wrote: 

We get along amazingly well, considering that we came to Jerusalem 
with scarcely one housekeeping article. . . . 

We are having bedding made and other articles. I have had several Arab 
women to watch from sunrise to sunset. They are a curious but interesting 
set of people, and I have had a good deal of amusement with them. I am 
learning Arabic gradually and hope soon to "carry on" at least a limited 
conversation. Here everyone speaks two or three languages, and many can 
use parts of eight or ten, for it is absolutely necessary in order to be 
tolerably conversant. In Jerusalem you can find every nationality under the 
sun represented, so you can see how many tongues can be used. 

The Arab women are good workers when you stand over them and 
shout "Yellah [Get going]!" 

Rob spent much time watching the native carpenters at work, and 
felt he could do as well as men who did not even know the use of a 
square. No sooner were we moved in than Rob purchased a fine set of 
German and English tools and set up a bench in an empty room, 
where, he wrote: 

... I carry on a trade of all kinds indiscriminately, blacksmith, 
mason, carpenter, and literally astonish the natives with a slight exhibi 
tion of American go-ahead-ness. This keeps me busy all the time, al 
though you wouldn t think so but among half a dozen women there is 
always something that is wanted to be done, especially in a new house. 

Among other things, Rob made a finely polished desk with pigeon- 
hales for Father for Father s first Christmas in Jerusalem; and Father 
used it for the rest of his life, and I ever since, and much of this book 
has been written on it. He made a bureau for Mother which is still 
in use in the American Colony, and child-size furniture for our 


Mother had tender feet, and when her American shoes wore out, 
Rob took them to pieces for a pattern and cut a new pair from the 
softest of kid leather; Mother wore the shoes Rob made for five years. 

We had no rugs at first, but local matting made of rushes was cheap 
and decorative. 

There was little choice in materials to furnish the new house, but 
Mother used Turkey-red material which was gay against the white 
walls. Other curtains were made of white or cream muslin banded 
with the Turkey red, so our windows gave a cheerful appearance. 

In the living room we learned to call it the salon Mother used 
bunches of wild grass and palm branches for decoration, and for pic 
tures mounted the cards we received for Christmas. 

Aunt Maggie wrote in a letter: 

It is a large room, and Annie with her natural ingenuity has made it 
lovely with Turkey-red curtains and divan covers ... on the south the 
salon has large double windows with broad window sills, one made into a 
lounge, and the others hold pots with maidenhair and other ferns. . . . 

A garden on the east and south had seven almond trees that were 
a great attraction in the beginning, but they died and were replaced 
by mulberry trees. There were pine and cypress, and soon we had a 
beautiful garden. In time the central open court was enhanced by 
pink ivy geraniums and white roses climbing all the way to the second 

There was a great deal of work to be done getting the house in order 
and Mother, Aunt Maggie, Mrs. Gould, and Mrs. Whiting were kept 
busy. I enjoyed the excitement of housekeeping and never had the 
feeling of being pushed back, as we children were always part of 

In his diary Father noted that one day "we" made quince jelly. I 
am sure it was the first time Father had put his hand to domestic 
service. Mother had in him a willing but clumsy helper, and she 
always tried to get him out of the house and off on one of his sight 
seeing expeditions when there was any special work to be done. 

Evidently we moved into the snug new home just in time for the 
first rain, for Rob wrote this in October: 

This afternoon we received the first wetting of the rainy season and 
are rejoicing exceedingly in the fact. You would understand the reason 
for rejoicing if you were to stay here one hour. Imagine a city crowded 
with people, without rain for six months, and you have Jerusalem. 

Everything is utterly barren not a green thing to be seen except the 
olive and fig trees and they are literally covered with dust. They say that 
now the hills will become beautifully green and everything will be lovely. 


Three months later: 

The fields are just turning from a reddish brown to a bright green. The 
wild flowers and the new grass cover the slopes and everything has the 
appearance of spring. It is a most bewitching climate and nothing could 
ever persuade me to leave Jerusalem. ... I am taking drawing lessons, 
in self-defense. 

Rob was out in his spare time sketching the ruins, the scraggling 
olive trees, and the people in their strange costumes. His work was 
interrupted by youngsters beggings for baksheesh (a present or alms) . 
He made a lovely drawing of the Damascus Gate, near our house, 
which I treasure, and drew little landscapes on olivewood with India 
ink, which, when polished over, made nice souvenirs for his friends 
back home. 

We were surprised to find winter could be cold in Jerusalem. Soon 
the wind blew loudly around our stone walls as if threatening to 
sweep even the stout building away, and sounded, Rob said, "exactly 
as it did at Lake View when the snow came down by the yard." We 
even learned that it occasionally snowed. One night the gale blew the 
"whirligig" off our salon chimney. Rob went up to repair it and if it 
were not for the railing Father had insisted upon our landlord s putting 
around the edge, Rob would have been blown off the roof. 

I find a letter written by Mother on January 6, 1882, in which 
she said; 

Our Christmas was a very quiet one and did not seem a bit like those 
at home, as there was nothing to remind us of it. 

Three Christmases later Mother wrote: 

Christmas! Glorious rain all night. Fifty-two outsiders here during 
the afternoon and evening. The tree beautifully trimmed, supper served 
to young and old. Thirty-two outside our "family" received gifts from 
the tree. The most wonderful peace and order combined with joy filled the 

Christmas was always a joyous celebration, as all our holidays and 
birthdays were. Even the ordinary days combined joyous well-being 
with hard work. In one of Mother s letters she tells of the large num 
bers of people, both Jews and Arabs, who came every day to the 
American Colony to visit and attend the daily meetings and listen to 
the singing. Among others they became acquainted with Mr. Stein- 
hart, a Jew who had traveled widely and was very interesting. He was 
employed by a private banker to buy land, which was sold to the im 
migrant Jews. 

His sister made and sold small cakes, and every Friday we ordered 


enough for Sunday afternoon tea, and larger ones for birthdays or 
other days we wished to celebrate. We called them "Steinhart cakes" 
and thought them delicious. 

I find a typical birthday description in a letter from Mrs. Gould 
to Aunt Rachel in Chicago in which she describes one of Mr. Rudy s, 
soon after we moved into the new house. Mr. Rudy was business 
manager for the Colony and, Mrs. Gould wrote: 

... so kind and thoughtful for us all, it was a pleasure to have a cele 
bration for him. 

Mrs. Whiting and Annie made a large cake and sent it out to be 
baked, and we frosted it at home. Rob put Mr. Rudy s name and the 
date and good wishes on with the chocolate frosting. We had nuts and 
raisins and coffee with it that evening in the parlor and Flora and Bertha 
were allowed to sit up until ten o clock. 

I remember that evening and the many fancy little parcels wrapped 
with funny inscriptions. Not all the gifts were funny, many were 
lovely, and among them was a silk scarf worn by certain Arabs and 
Bedouins, a headdress appropriate to this country where the sun is 
very hot. 

Our daily fare was simple but healthy. Our kitchen, Aunt Maggie 
wrote, was "different from any you ve ever seen." We had no oven 
at first, and all the cooking was done on charcoal, in a row of small 
grated ovens set into the kitchen wall. We had little sheet-iron stoves 
to heat the rooms in winter which burned olivewood although, look 
ing out over the barren country, one wondered where the wood could 
possibly come from. 

There were copper utensils in the kitchen and lovely copper dishes, 
the finest of which came from Damascus. 

Our native cooks were taught to make American dishes, but we had 
only the local foodstuffs and soon learned to like the native cooking. 
We had no potatoes, but rice and cracked wheat, cone sugar solid 
and very pure and plenty of vegetables. We never ate anything raw 
that was not peeled, or lettuce unless it was grown in our own garden. 
But we had radishes, and a squash called cusa, like vegetable marrow* 
Cusa was cooked with tomato sauce and mutton, or prepared as cusa 
mashy, when it is stuffed with meat and rice, a dish we loved. Mutton 
and fowl were our only meats* 

Mo a lubi> meaning "upside down," was another native dish we 
liked. It was made by putting a layer of chopped mutton roasted in 
butter in the saucepan, then a layer of sliced and fried eggplant The 
right amount of rice was added and seasoned with salt, pepper, a bit of 
cinnamon and allspice, with saffron to color the rice. This was boiled 


until dry, then the whole thing was turned upside down on a large 
copper dish and over it was poured melted semin in which snobar 
(pine-cone nuts) had been roasted. 

Semin was goat s butter boiled until concentrated. 

Joseph the milkman kept the goats, and his shepherd herded them 
in and out of the city. We had to boil all the milk, of course. Later 
we had our own flock of goats, and, still later, cattle. 

Sundays we frequently had pancakes with dibbis, a molasses made 
of boiled-down grape juice. 

We made American coffee for breakfast and tea in the afternoon. 
To Arab guests we served coffee in tiny cups, very strong, made in 
the Arab way. Once we offered one of our large cups of coffee to our 
Arab friend, Abu Nassib, and he was astonished. "What is this you 
are giving me a cistern full?" 

We had no servant problem in Jerusalem in those days. 

Our cook was a Christian peasant woman from Ramallah. We had 
five servants, Miriam and her daughter Hannieh, and three young men 
who did the marketing, waiting on table, and other work. There was 
no electricity in Jerusalem, and cleaning and filling the kerosene 
lamps was a task that in itself took much time. 

We had an ironing woman named Katrina. She used irons that were 
like little stoves. The charcoal was put inside the iron and lighted 
and by the time the fumes were gone, the iron was hot. 

Rob wrote that our cook, Miriam, looked like a queen, and pre 
sided with as much grace and dignity over her fireplace as any lady in 
her drawing room. She wore the costume of the northern villages, a 
straight-cut gown of cream-colored hand-woven linen, heavily em 
broidered in cross-stitch in red with a touch of blue and green on the 
side seams, the back of the skirt, and breast. The square "breastplate" 
was heavily embroidered and very beautiful. A silken or woolen girdle 
around the waist and red leather heelless slippers completed the 

Most beautiful of all was the headdress of the married woman. 
Bits of cloth plaited into the hair made a firm foundation for the 
headdress, which consisted of a small, close-fitting cap quite un 
like the tall headdress worn by the married Bethlehemite and southern 
peasants. On the cap was the dowry, of silver coins sewn closely to 
gether in such a way that they stood up. Some authorities say that this 
headdress may have been the inspiration for the halo to early 
artists. From it an elaborate silver chain or chains, with silver coins 
attached, hung down to the breast, culminating in one large silver coin, 
or, if the woman were of a wealthy family, a gold coin. Over this 
went the heavily embroidered veil or shawl, the "veil" Ruth wore 


when Boaz said: "Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee and hold it;" 
and when she held it he measured six measures of barley. 

When Miriam and her daughter Hannieh were dressed in their 
Sunday best they were like pictures of beautiful women in Bible days. 

We thought it a pity, when, around the turn of the century, the 
Palestine women began discarding their picturesque costumes in 
favor of European. The bright colors they loved, so becoming in 
native costumes, looked cheap and dowdy when used in European 

Hannieh was a sort of under nurse and often took Flora and me 
walking. We loved going with her; we met other nurses and children 
in the Russian Compound and had delightful adventures. 

One afternoon Father took me to the Holy Sepulcher. Near the 
entrance, at the Stone of Unction, I asked my astonished father to 
wait, while I knelt, kissed the stone, and crossed myself. 

"Roman Catholics do it that way," I explained. 

Hannieh was Greek Orthodox. 

Another time Father asked me where I should like to walk, and I 
answered promptly, "To the Russian Cathedral, where they serve re 

He learned that we had been in the habit of going with Hannieh 
to the Cathedral where hundreds of Russian pilgrims received the 
sacrament from a large bowl of wine with bits of sacred bread floating 
in it. I remember the priest would carry the bowl and with a spoon he 
would shove a piece of the soaked bread into every waiting mouth. 
Everyone was devout and exceedingly religious during this ceremony, 
but Flora and I, not understanding, only knew we liked eating the 
soaked bread. 

This put an end to our strolls with Hannieh to the Holy Sepulcher 
and the Russian Cathedral. 

In the narrow, exciting streets there were little cookshops that sold 
kebab (shish kebab is the Turkish form) , bits of meat, tomato, and 
onion broiled on spikes. In the early spring bunches of green chick 
peas, roasted in the bread ovens, were sold. These foods were sold to 
the peasants who came into the city to work, and our nurses liked 
them, and we liked them too. 

Father put a stop to all this. 

That we did not contract some serious disease remains a mystery. 
But we were healthy and robust children and as fascinated by our 
strange new surroundings as were our elders. 

Of the three young men who were our original houseboys in the 
American Colony, one is still with us after sixty-eight years, and a 


loved and highly respected member of the Colony. Elias must be 
nearly ninety by now. 

One was dismissed after several years, and the front door still bears 
the dents he made pounding with the iron knocker, hoping he might 
wear us down and make us change our minds. 

The next time we saw him, he was wearing the reversed collar of 
a preacher. He had been to England, joined a small religious sect, and 
was conducting a group of Bible students through the Holy Land. He 
brought his party to visit the American Colony, and on entering the 
front hall knelt and said, "Let us bray," and of course we children 

The Arabic alphabet has no equivalent for the letter p> which is 
often pronounced b. A cook we had used to say, "I can say p but I 
don t know where to but it." 

Maarouf , the third young man, was a Moslem, about eighteen years 
old. All our "help" came to morning prayers, and Maarouf s interest 
grew from day to day, until in 1884 he announced his wish to be 
come a Christian. 

Father knew the consequences that would follow persecution and 
perhaps even death, but Maarouf seemed steadfast, and eventually he 
was prepared in the Christian faith and baptized by Father. All his 
family, except his mother, turned against Maarouf. 

His stepfather was a muezzin who called the Faithful to prayer five 
times a day from a minaret near the Dome of the Rock. He felt that 
Maarouf s apostasy was an insult to the family and to himself in 
particular. The simplest and most effectual way to remove Maarouf 
from the scene was to request the Turkish Government to draft him 
into the army for five years of service. 

We were helpless. We had no idea of surreptitiously hiding him, 
but evidently Maarouf s family thought we might have, and they ap 
pealed through Raouf Pasha, governor of Palestine, to our American 
Consul, Selah Merrill, who wrote Father a not unfriendly letter point 
ing out that the governor was requesting the delivery of a Turkish 
subject named Maarouf, and under existing treaties and regulations 
the United States could not prevent the delivery of Maarouf when he 
was called for. Father answered that we would certainly not detain 
Maarouf; in fact that his summons was expected. But it was a sur 
prise to find that when the Turkish soldier came to arrest Maarouf he 
was accompanied by the American Consul s dragoman. 

Maarouf was held in the Turkish barracks inside the Jaffa Gate. 
On April 1, 1884, as we were at supper, a man came with a scrap of 
paper on which was written a little note beginning "Dear sisters and 
brethern." It was from Maarouf, and I found it many years later in 
Father s desk. Maarouf and other prisoners were about to be taken 


to Damascus and at that moment were standing outside the Damascus 
Gate. Everyone hurried out to say good-by to Maarouf. 

Mother wrote, "We found ourselves silently surrounding the dear 

All the recruits had their hands tied behind them, only Maarouf s 
were not tied at the wrists like the others, but by his thumbs. Later 
we heard this caused great suffering, for his thumbs became infected. 

In this fashion Maarouf walked approximately three hundred miles 
to Damascus, where he was kept in solitary confinement, and beaten, 
to make him recant. Then tactics changed. He was taken to Beirut, 
treated with flattering consideration, and offered a government posi 
tion and an advantageous marriage if he would give up his Christian 

Maarouf stood by his convictions. He managed to send several 
letters to Father. One read in part: 

. . . The Lord is teaching me many lessons and bringing me close to 
Him. They said to us that they are going to send us away to the place 
where the war was. But I am not attending to what they say. I am waiting 
to the dear Lord for deliverance. Anyway He want it only may I glorify 
His name in this thing. Salute the dear ones at home and my earthly 
mother comfort her for me. Salute the children. 

Your son, MAAROUF. 

Then we learned that Maarouf was sent to Yemen, where the 
Arabs were continually rising against the Turkish rule, where the 
climate was unhealthy, and he could not be expected to survive the 
five years of hard military service. It must have seemed the easiest 
way to get rid of him. 

The Turks were having difficulty. In 1881 Abdul-Hamid lost 
Tunisia to France, and the following year England occupied Egypt. 
The whole of North Africa was lost to Turkish domination with the 
exception of Libya. Arabia was a continual source of trouble. 

Maarouf survived his five years in Arabia. 

I remember being awakened in the dead of night by a great bang 
ing on the front door. Everyone in the Colony wakened, and when the 
door was opened, there stood a dirty, weary, and forlorn Turkish 
soldier, who said simply, "I am Maarouf." 

When he was rested and fed and his beard shaved off, we could 
recognize the lad, now about twenty-two, who had been led away 
from the Damascus Gate with his thumbs tied at his back. 

We children were much excited and made a great ado over our 

The respite was short. His stepfather heard Maarouf was back 
and began his old intrigues. Six months later Maarouf was again 


taken from us, this time as a reserve to quell the troubles in Crete. 
Across his taskara, or military paper, was written that he was never to 
be released because he was a "kafir" an unbeliever. 

Maarouf was in the mountains of Candia for two years, but when 
the Greeks conquered the Turks, Maarouf took advantage of a mid 
night retreat. By slow degrees he got to Jaffa, to Jerusalem, and to 
the American Colony. 

The stepfather heard Maarouf was home again. He was dum- 
founded, for he believed he had secured his permanent banishment 
and probably his death. He came to the American Colony, bringing 
Maarouf s mother and all his brothers and sisters. 

"I see now," he said humbly to Maarouf, "that you have not 
changed your outer garment [religion] but it is a change of heart. 
If I work against you, now that I am convinced of this fact, I will 
be fighting against God. It is written kismet. I have become your 
friend, and I respect you." 

All our Moslem friends treated Maarouf in the same manner. H$ 
was received by his Moslem superiors as an equal. In the American 
Colony he was no longer regarded as a servant. 

Another who was to live with us for the rest of her life was Wardy, 
a Greek Orthodox Arab woman who was John Whiting s nurse. John 
grew from babyhood to manhood and went away to the United States 
and returned again and Wardy was still part of the family. When she 
was taken ill, we nursed her, and when she died, and was prepared 
for burial, a ragged cap John had worn as a boy was found inside her 
clothing, next to her heart. "Tat-toot-mat-toot" was her absurd pet 
name for him; it was the last word on her lips. 

These early days were stirring and eager for the Group from 
Chicago. The tempest brewing in Lake View had not yet burst over 
our innocent heads, and we were making new friends, both native- 
born and otherwise, for, as Father noted in his diary, "at one time or 
another the world and his wife come to Jerusalem. . , . Let no one 
think of the Holy City as out of the world. One has opportunities of 
meeting people one would never meet at home under normal circum 

The very day we were climbing the hill to our new home Father 
and Mother were stopped by one of the neighbors, who shook their 
hands. His name was Abu Ali, and he was the kavass, or guard, to 
the Russian Archimandrite. He welcomed them to this portion of the 
walled city and promised he would always be their friend. This 
promise was kept, and today the third and fourth generations of his 
family are just as loyal in friendship to the American Colony as was 
their great-grandfather, Abu Ali. 


Father noted in his diary that on their first Sunday in Jerusalem he 
and Mother attended Christ Church, seat of the Anglican bishop, and 
met several of the leading men in the "Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel Among the Jews." He wrote that on June 26, 1882, Raouf 
Pasha, the governor of Jerusalem, called at the American Colony, and 
that the next week he and Mr. Rudy, with Mr. Gargour as interpreter, 
returned the Pasha s call. 

One of the first things Father did was to pay his respects to our 
American Consul in Jerusalem, the Rev. Selah Merrill, former 
Congregational minister of Andover, Massachusetts, who served from 
1882 to 1886, and then, after four years of respite, returned to com 
plete a tenure of office which, with one more break, covered eighteen 
years. Father s call was not returned, and as long as he remained in 
Jerusalem Mr. Merrill never set foot inside the American Colony 
Compound. In all those years his acrimony against the American 
Colony never abated, and his official position lent weight to his dis 
approval and increased his ability to do us harm. 

Consuls in the East, before the Capitulations were abrogated, and 
especially for Americans who had extraterritorial rights, had enor 
mous powers for good and evil. This was before the United States had 
a consular service as a career for trained men. Consuls were political 

Mr. Merrill had definite ideas as a Congregational minister about 
how philanthropic work should be done, so he would have nothing to 
do with our Group. His resentment was hidden at first and did not 
disturb our serenity for several years. 

But we were on friendly terms with all the other consular groups 
and especially the English Consul. 

Father s notebook continues to hold accounts of walks of explora 
tion within and outside Jerusalem s walls. He wrote of going to the 
"Valley of Hinnom . . . returning by the village of Siloam and back 
through the Zion Gate." He tells of a trip on horseback to Bethlehem, 
with Mother tumbling from her horse several times on the way, until 
she learned the poor beast had "the staggers." They enjoyed many in 
teresting journeys in these early years, and Father never tired of his 
rambling trips of discovery. 


JERUSALEM in those days was a medieval city, snugly crowded 
within its walls and only beginning to spread its suburbs beyond. 

It is generally believed that Salem, to whose king, Melchizedek, 
Abraham gave tithes (Genesis 14), was Jerusalem. Apart from this, 
the earliest records referring to this city are the cuneiform Tell el- 
Amarna tablets, written about 1400 B.C. to the King of Egypt. 

Later the King of Jerusalem is named as one of the five who under 
took to punish the Gibeonites for making their truce with Joshua. To 
help the Gibeonites Joshua came and defeated the confederation 
(Joshua 10). Later, in Samuel, we read: "David took the strong 
hold of Zion, the same is the city of David." 

This first small Jebuzite settlement was situated near the Virgin s 
Fount, the only living water near Jerusalem. 

According to some scholars, but not universally accepted, David, 
learning that the Jebuzites had a tunnel by which they drew up the 
water from the Virgin s Fount, boldly conceived the plan to surprise 
them that way, and succeeded. What is believed to be that tunnel has 
been discovered. The Jebuzite village then became the national capital 
and in time Jerusalem was the religious center. 

Titus destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70 so thoroughly that it was 
plowed with salt so that nothing would grow. It even lost its name at 
one time under Hadrian and for several centuries was called Eelya 

The city has had one of the most checkered careers in history, 
having suffered something like fifty sieges. Some of these made only 
slight changes; others resulted in partial and even total destruction, 
filling up the valleys and greatly altering the city s aspect. 

The miracle is that Jerusalem has survived. 

The Valley of Kedron separates the city from the Mount of Olives 
to the east, while the Valley of Hinnom, which starts on the west 
side, protects the city there and then swings eastward to join the 
Kedron, so furnishing sufficient defense on the south side. The 
vulnerable point has always been the north, where no valley guards 


the city, and where at two different periods suburbs grew up which 
needed defense. Hence in Roman times the north side had three walls. 
It is noteworthy that almost every attempt against Jerusalem except 
AUenby s has been directed from the north side, from which point 
alone it has been successfully taken. 

The Tyropean Valley runs north to south through the city and is 
filled up near the southern end to a depth of ninety feet. It was across 
this valley that Josephus tells of two viaducts spanning the valley 
which enabled those in the Upper City to get to the Lower City and 

The present city walls are Saracen and date from 1542 and are 
the work of Suleiman the Magnificent. They vary in height from 
thirty to seventy-five feet, and follow in part the line of wall of Christ s 
day, especially on the east side. A goodly section on the south, which 
now lies outside the walls including the Pool of Siloam, was within 
the walls in Solomon s day. The present south wall probably follows 
the line of the Crusader s south wall limit. 

Few cities can claim rampart walls of such perfect preservation. 
These picturesque battlements narrowly escaped demolition by Djemal 
Pasha, who was Turkish Generalissimo of the campaign against the 
British in 1914-17. Demolire was one of his favorite words. I heard 
him say that he intended to give Jerusalem fresh air by demolishing 
the city walls and make it more modern by hacking a boulevard, 
which would of course bear his name, from the Jajffa Gate to the 
Temple area. Such "hacking" might have uncovered much of antiquity 
that would have been of inestimable archaeological value, but at a 
time when no one was there to record it scientifically, and it would 
have been immediately and irretrievably lost. 

The last fifty years have done much to obscure the western and 
northwestern sections of the wall by the erection of huge buildings 
hard against it, but this has been stopped, and recently some of the 
unsightly modern buildings near the Jaffa Gate have been pulled 
down, exposing the old ramparts. During the recent civil war many 
of these buildings belonging to Arabs and Armenians were demolished 
by the Israeli army. 

January 17, 1883, a letter by Aunt Maggie told of the new build 
ings going up in and around Jerusalem: 

The activity of rebuilding is by no means confined to the Jews. Catho 
lics, Greeks, Mohammedans, and Protestants are all taking part in it. 
There are at the present time more than one hundred buildings going 
up, all of stone, and most of them of carefully cut stone. The new method 
is to use iron girders to support the ceiling. This is then covered with 
French tiles instead of the older and more picturesque dome roof. 


Each house had its cistern, Jerusalem s only water supply. Aunt 
Maggie said she believed the new tile roofs became so popular be 
cause they afforded an increased area for collecting water. 

She teUs of the Grand New Hotel, then being built, just inside the 
Jaffa Gate opposite the Tower of David, with an arcade and shops 
below. All were being built by the Greek Orthodox father who was the 
treasurer of the Holy Sepulcher. 

Still deeper inside the old city he built massive blocks of shops 
with chambers overhead, covering the site of the Crusader inns, 
hospitals, and churches, especially those of the Knights of Saint John 
of Jerusalem. Inside the Jaffa Gate the Franciscans were finishing 
their church, with a clock tower adjoining which "will contain chimes 
of bells." I remember Father took me up on the scaffolding of the 
church tower before the tower was finished, and I was frightened but 
would not acknowledge it because I was thrilled at being treated like 
a big girl. 

Near this church the Franciscans were also erecting large buildings 
to accommodate priests and pilgrims, and workshops for the employ 
ment of men of the community. The French hospital building was out 
side the north city wall its first story barely finished when we came. 
Adjoining it the French Catholics were building a large, expensive 
stone structure called the Notre Dame de France to accommodate 
six hundred pilgrims. 

One hotel was building an addition to be used as a restaurant, 
for there was not a restaurant in Jerusalem except the "cookshops," 
where people bought native food. 

Aunt Maggie wrote again in 1883 that on the Jaffa-Jerusalem 
Road, more than thirty miles long because of its winding course up 
the hills, about four thousand men, women, and children were em 
ployed making a new road. In places they followed the old cobblestone 
road, which in turn followed the still older Roman road. Near the little 
village of Kulonia they built a beautiful arched stone bridge over the 
watercourse, which is dry in summer but in winter swells to a 
dangerous torrent. 

From this watercourse, but lower down where it reaches the plain, 
David picked the five stones that killed Goliath. 

Nearing Jerusalem the Jaffa Road becomes "main street." It was 
treeless, with long lines of ugjy houses put up cheaply for the incom 
ing Jews, over which a good deal of speculation was practiced as 
their demand increased. 

The British Consulate, where our friends the Moore family lived, 
was the last house west on the Jaffa Road. Two stucco lions stood 
before the gate. It became a police station during the British Man 


Opposite the British Consulate on the Jaffa Road a half-built 
house stood. Years later it was completed and used as the Municipal 
Hospital, and still later, after the British occupation, it became the 
headquarters of the Public Health Department. The reason it remained 
unfinished so long is another of Jerusalem s tales. 

It was being built, about the time we arrived, as the future home 
of a couple about to be married. The young man was the only son of 
an Arab Roman-Catholic family who lived near our home in Haret-es- 
Sa ad-ieh. Before the wedding took place he died. Mother attended 
the, funeral services, where the actions of the heart-broken parents 
can be attributed only to wild and uncontrolled hysteria. 

The mourners gathered in the room where the dead man was 
propped up in a chair and his lovely young bride was brought up to 
him, gorgeously decorated with jewels and flowers and wearing an elab 
orate brocade dress and the customary wedding veil. The "joy shout" 
was raised by the mourners, or guests, and his mother danced before 
the couple with a lighted candle in each hand, the traditional dance the 
mother and relatives perform before a bridal pair. 

"It is my duty to dance," she repeated, and the guests joined in, 
"Yes, it is your duty." 

As she finished her dance she tore her clothes, gave the terrible 
death cry, and snatched the veil from the bride s face. 

Then the corpse was laid in the coffin and the funeral ceremony 

Mother came home shaken by the spectacle. The violent demon 
stration of grief evidently killed the mother, for she died soon after. 
So one more house stood unfinished for many years in Jerusalem. 

On what is now the Street of the Prophets but was then called the 
"back road" was the house where Holman Hunt, the pre-Raphaelite 
artist, had lived with his family while painting some of his most 
famous pictures, including the "Shadow of Death," or "The Shadow 
of the Cross," a robed figure standing in the sunset with arms lifted, 
casting a shadow of a cross. Many of Hunt s pictures, painted in and 
around Jerusalem, were reproduced in two large volumes, Pre- 
Raphaelism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He was gone when 
we came, but we heard many anecdotes about the famous artist and 
met many of his models; I remember particularly a converted Jewish 
girl whose waving golden hair he had copied for the Christ in one of 
his paintings. 

The "back road" was muddy or dusty according to the season of 
the year. 

The London Jews Society had a small house on the "back road" 
in a large compound which was used as a camping ground in sum- 


mer by the English missionaries. Later the English Mission Hospital 
and girls school were built there. As I write this it is being used by 
the Hadassah Hospital as their buildings on Mount Scopus are in the 
Arab zone. The Mission House and the home of the clergyman, Mr. 
Kelk, stood conspicuously in a large garden. 

The Arabic Church, belonging to the Church Missionary Society, 
stood apart, not surrounded by houses as it is now. 

There was then no Mea Shearim, in Hebrew, "One Hundred 
Gates," which became such a blight on the landscape and where so 
much of the fighting took place in 1947-48 between Jews and Arabs. 
There is a tragic story connected with the construction of these 
hundred houses. They were not built by Jews, as might be supposed, 
since they became a one-hundred-per-cent Jewish quarter, but by a 
Swiss banker who thought the return of the Jews to Jerusalem was 
imminent but was not too pious to make a little money out of it, so 
he bought up all the property on the measuring line supposedly laid 
down in Jeremiah 31:38-40 and put up rows of rooms, each room 
with a small kitchen attached and intended to hold a family. These 
dwellings were sold to the newcomers who flocked to Palestine in 
consequence of the Russian persecutions, which became almost a 
hegira about 1882. 

This banker built a magnificent residence for his large family 
where we enjoyed playing with his children in their nursery and 
garden, which was filled with many toys and other equipment for 
play and where one of the boys who used to tease me was Frederick 
Vester, whom I later married. 

I remember Father remonstrating with the banker for speculating 
with the prophecies and before long he did come to grief. 

Every once in a while Sultan Abdul-Hamid of Turkey would 
become alarmed at the great influx of Jews into Palestine and issue 
an order that the immigration must stop. I remember how distressed 
Mother and Father would be whenever they heard this, knowing of 
the hardships the immigrants must endure. The Jewish people would 
leave their ships at Jaffa in rowboats to be taken to shore, as there 
was no harbor, only to find the Turkish authorities would not let 
them land. They would be rowed back to the ship, where the cap 
tain would not accept them. Between boat and shore they were 
taken back and forth, and eventually landed when the bribe, under 
these trying conditions, had grown as large as could be extracted. 
Then pressure would be brought to bear on Constantinople by a 
great power, and the doors of Palestine would open again, until 
again, suddenly, and without warning, another order would clamp 
down on whatever unlucky group arrived at that inopportune mo- 


ment, and they, in turn, would be caught between the upper and 
nether millstones. 

It was during one of these periods, when Palestine was closed to 
the Jews, that the Swiss banker found he had bought property too 
lavishly. The poor man was forced into bankruptcy. The mansion 
he once occupied is now the Evelina de Rothschild School for Girls. 

Some distance to the south of Jerusalem was a cluster of houses 
known as the German Templar Colony. Few buildings were between 
it and the Jaffa Gate, so it stood conspicuous and alone. These 
people were Unitarians who had left Germany to obtain religious 
freedom, drifted to Palestine, and founded colonies. 

In 1881 the hills around Jerusalem, so thickly populated now, 
were open fields where we picked wild flowers in the spring. 

Ras Abu Tor, or the "Hill of Evil Council," was marked by a 
large dark green mace or hackberry tree on which Judas was sup 
posed to have hanged himself. I remember being afraid of that tree 
and thinking how wicked it looked. It vanished, and Ras Abu Tor 
became covered with modern buildings. The hill has seen much 
fighting in recent years and little is left of the buildings now. 

Two windmills were conspicuous in the Jerusalem landscape, one 
built by Sir Moses Montefiore, who also built near by the row of 
houses used for the accommodation of poor Jews rent free, still 
called the Montefiore Quarter. 

After the Montefiore mill was built no one knew how to set the 
sails and Cousin Rob was called in. He made a study of windmills 
and did his best, but the mill was only partially successful. The 
other, the property of the Greek Orthodox Convent, is now part of 
Rehavia, the large new Jewish settlement. 

No buildings existed in those days between this windmill and the 
Convent of the Cross, the fortresslike monastery on the traditional 
spot where the tree grew from which was made the Cross of Calvary. 
Now the solid mass of buildings there is Rehavia. 

The Convent of the Cross was used as a seminary for Greek 
Orthodox students, who, after graduating, were eligible to become 
members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher. From this 
Brotherhood the Orthodox Patriarch was chosen when he had risen 
to the proper ecclesiastical rank. An Arab could never become a Pa 
triarch of the Orthodox Church because Arabs were not permitted 
to attend the seminary. This was and still is the burning controversy 
between clergy and Arab laity. 

The olive grove surrounding the Convent of the Cross, Musalaby, 
as the convent is called in Arabic, was one of our favorite resorts 


for picnics and we children loved to go there. In one of the upstairs 
rooms there was a sort of museum. One of the exhibits was a rather 
moth-eaten stuffed lion with staring glass eyes, said to have been 
killed in one of the nearby valleys. I often begged to be taken to the 
convent, and the lion was the attraction. I would hold tightly to 
Father s hand and keep my eyes shut until we came before the lion, 
then I would open them quickly and stand transfixed by that men 
acing glassy stare. In my mind I was convinced that this was the 
actual lion that had not eaten Daniel, but I was scared because I 
wasn t sure he wouldn t eat me. I was no saint like Daniel, of that 
I was sure. 

The Russian Compound outside the walls northwest of the city 
was much as it is now, only the glaring new white stone has mel 
lowed with age and the saplings of cypress and pine are grown to 
large trees, and there are fewer of them. A strong wall surrounds 
the cathedral, hospital, consular residence, and hospices for pilgrims. 

Enormous crowds of Russian pilgrims trekked through Palestine 
in those days and up until World War I. They began to gather in 
Jerusalem at Christmastime we saw them that first Christmas in 
1881 and by Easter there would be between fifteen and twenty 
thousand. They came on foot in large caravans, always escorted by a 
kavass on horseback, heading the procession, while another brought 
up the rear. These were generally in Cossack or Montenegrin cos 
tume and looked fierce but very grand, and as a child I imagined 
them to be generals at the very least. Many of these pilgrims had 
beautiful voices and sang and chanted as they walked along. 

After the Holy Fire, which takes place on the Saturday before 
the Greek Easter, there would be a great scramble among them to 
get away by carriage and, in later years, on the narrow-gauge rail 
road to Jaffa, the port of embarkation. 

The Russian State Church was Greek Orthodox and encouraged 
these pilgrimages by building hospices as accommodations in many 
of the Palestine cities and in remote spots which marked holy sites. 
In these the pilgrims could be housed and served hot water in sam 
ovars and leave a few kopeks when they departed. The Imperial 
Russian Government also subsidized the steamers that brought the , 
pilgrims from Odessa on the Black Sea to Jaffa and back again to 

The pilgrims had little money individually, but because of their 
vast numbers they contributed the major part of the support of the 
Greek Orthodox Convent and Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the 
hospices. They created a demand for all kinds of trinkets, and many 
kinds of industries in the manufacture of souvenirs gave occupation 
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Candle-dippers 


worked the year round to have a supply equal to the demands of the 
thousands of Russian, Greek, Armenian, Coptic, and Macedonian 
pilgrims who attended the annual celebration of the Holy Fire. Then 
there were the makers of ikons and mother-of-pearl and olivewood 
trinkets. Shroud makers made a good living stenciling black skulls 
and crossbones on white muslin to be worn by the Russian pilgrims 
when they were dipped in the Jordan River at the Feast of Epiphany, 
and eventually to be used when they were buried, and they would 
carry back dipped shrouds to their relatives and friends. They be 
lieved by symbolic washing they would obtain a blessing because it 
was there the Lord was baptized. 

The Russian pilgrimages that were part of life in Palestine and 
supported so many families ceased with World War I and the Rus 
sian Revolution, 

In a letter dated 1885 Aunty wrote: 

... on the very summit of Olivet the Russians have begun to build 
a tower. It is said it will be one hundred and sixty-two feet high when 
completed, and from its top they hope to see the Mediterranean and the 
Dead Sea. 

A 12,000-pound bell, cast in Russia, was brought for the tower. It was 
drawn from Jaffa to the top of the Mount of Olives last winter by Rus 
sian pilgrims, mostly women. It took them three weeks to get it to its 
destination. These Russian peasants have beautiful voices and they 
chanted the whole way. They changed places every few minutes, the 
rested taking the places of the tired. 

I remember the day the bell passed below our house on its way to 
Gethsemane. We all went up on the roof and watched and listened. 
The singing reached us and was very sweet. Before the faithful 
workers was still the great pull up Olivet, but they were cheerful, 
waved to us on the roof, and proceeded with their precious load. 

A slaughterhouse stood where the Dominican Monastery and 
Church of Saint Stephen now stand in their lovely tree-shaded 
grounds, the supposed site of the stoning of Saint Stephen. As the 
prevailing wind in summer is northwest, we in our home on the city 
wall at times got the full discomfort of the dreadful stench. It was 
a happy relief when the property was bought by the Dominican 
Fathers and the slaughterhouse was moved to the Valley of the 
Kedron. The Fathers soon began their excavations and unearthed a 
number of tombs. I remember they had a narrow-gauge and. hand- 
propelled railway to carry the debris away, and I often stole a ride 
on it, for it was the nearest thing to a railroad I could remember. 

Mamilla Road, now one of the principal business streets of Jeru 
salem, was then an insignificant lane. It improved near the corner, 
where the present Saint Julian s Way crosses it. A large house on 


the corner was used by Thomas Cook and Son for their tent-equip 
ment depot. Everyone traveled on horseback in those days and 
needed tents. It was expensive to travel in comfort, but you were 
not whisked from Dan to Beersheba in a day, so that you were likely 
to forget, as did one tourist I recently met, whether you saw the 
Church of the Nativity in Bethany or Bethlehem. 

Farther west on Mamilla Road the only residence belonged to the 
Vester family, where lived the twelve-year-old boy I would eventu 
ally marry. Mr. Ferdinand Vester, Senior, his father, came to Pales 
tine in 1853 as a Lutheran missionary, and lived first, like all 
Europeans then, inside the city walls. In 1868 he had considered 
the country safe enough to settle outside. Bishop Gobat had built his 
school outside the walls on Mount Zion, and others were taking the 
risk of building out where the air was fresher and the houses less 
crowded together. My future husband was born in the new house in 
1869. It is now the Consulate General of the United States. 

A conspicuous landmark on Mamilla Road near what is now 
King George Avenue was a huge mysterious building, unfinished 
then, and still unfinished after nearly three quarters of a century. It 
was known as the "Home of the Hundred and Forty-four Thou 
sand." Of excellent masonry, the large stones well cut, it bespoke 
large sums sunk in a visionary but frustrated enterprise. 

It was built by a rich Dutch lady, a countess, who had come to 
Jerusalem in the late seventies and bought the land through an 
agent and in his name, since it was against Turkish law for a for 
eigner to own property in Palestine. 

She evidently possessed an idee fixe, as do so many who come to 
the Holy Land, for she felt an exaggerated responsibility for housing 
the ransomed souls spoken of in Revelation 7:4. The massive and 
expensive foundations testify as to the enormous size of the planned 
structure. The venture was interrupted by the Serbian War, and the 
countess returned to Holland to equip and command a company of 
soldiers to help fight the "Infidel Turk/ doubtless expecting to see 
the Turkish Government s removal as custodian of the Holy Land. 

I do not know what became of her plans for a personal army, but 
after the Serbian War ended she returned to Jerusalem and stayed 
for a time as a guest of the American Colony. I remember her quite 
well indeed; one could not easily forget such a person. She was tall 
and masculine-looking, with a few hairs growing on each side of her 
mouth that increased her masculinity, but she had a very real 
feminine love for pretty clothes. She wore her long hair piled 
fashionably on the top of her head and dresses with long, enveloping 
skirts under which were heavy boots that made such a loud clop- 
clopping when she walked that I wondered if they were not topboots. 


One afternoon some Turkish officers called on Father. Tea was 
announced, and the countess came, as usual, into our drawing room. 
Father rose to introduce her to his guests, but at sight of them the 
countess stood rigid. Her dark eyes snapped fire and the atmosphere 
in the room was electrified. This was the field of battle, where enemy 
met enemy. 

Father, having no idea as to the cause of this, tried to say some 
thing to ease the situation. 

The countess finally spoke. "This is a house of peace and I offer 
my old enemy my hand." 

Soon after this the countess left Jerusalem. 

Her martial undertakings had taken most of her money and she 
was unable to complete the house on Mamilla Road. For years there 
was litigation over the monstrous pile, with the agent claiming pos 
session, and finally winning, after her death. The ruin stands, a 
monument to another of the strange dreams in Jerusalem. 

The year after our arrival, in 1882, the Turkish Government 
began to repair the streets and improve the sewefs. By 1883 they had 
made an important beginning and were digging the foundations for 
some shops just outside the Jaffa Gate, on the new Jaffa Road. 

I remember quite well being taken by Father to watch these im 
provements. At the Damascus Gate near our house we could see 
where Roman pavement was exposed about fifteen feet below the 
present level of the street. "Look down, Bertha," I can still hear 
Father saying; "that is the the very pavement our Lord and Saint 
Paul walked upon." The Roman cobblestones were still there, un 

The mayor who made these improvements was Salem Effendi al 
Husseini, who held the post for eighteen years, and both of whose 
sons, Musa Kazim Pasha and Hussein Effendi, also in time became 
mayors of Jerusalem. It was Hussein Effendi who capitulated to the 
British on December 9, 1917 and delivered the letter of surrender to 
General Sir John Shea on that memorable day, at which I was priv 
ileged to be present. 

Before Cook s on Mamilla Road was a beautiful old terebinth 
tree. This spot had been used for public executions by decapitation, 
but by the time we arrived the Turks had abolished capital punish 
ment and fifteen years imprisonment was the sentence for murder. 
There was a legend that when the tree died it would signal the end of 
Turkish rule in Palestine. Every care was taken to preserve it: iron 
bands were fastened around its trunk and props placed under its 

By strange coincidence, in 1917, the year Allenby s victorious 


entry marked the end of the Turkish rule in Palestine, this tree did 

The valley outside the wall under our house we called "Our 
Valley." About halfway up the hill between our door and the 
Damascus Gate the ruin of a Crusader clinic was now used as a pot 
tery. The potter was an Orthodox Jew who wore the little skullcap, 
beard, and side curls. He was very good to us. His son Chaim was 
about my age and one of our playmates. 

The potter taught us how to shape pottery and turn the wheel, 
and we made and baked our own dishes and ate from them when we 
gave "play parties." We children often picnicked over an open fire in 
"Our Valley." One of the elders lowered our tea in a basket on a 
rope over the wall, which was about sixty or seventy feet high at this 
point and twelve feet wide. Our Arab nurses taught us to cook over 
the open fire. 

We invited Father to our outdoor teas, but when he accepted 
Mother insisted upon our having baked potatoes. She drew the line 
at letting him eat our messes. The Arabs, like the French, eat snails, 
and once we were going to be very clever and cook some. We did, 
and I hated to eat them, but I forced myself to and was terribly ill. 

The old moats surrounding the city wall were filled in with rub 
bish, especially near the Jaffa Gate and the Damascus Gate, where 
they were still being used as dumps. Carcasses of dead animals were 
brought there to be devoured by pariah dogs, but, even worse, living 
animals, worn-out or disabled, were left there to suffer until slow 
death brought relief. 

Several times Father and Rob went out and put poor dying beasts 
out of their misery. Each time the owners promptly put in an ap 
pearance, clamoring for compensation. They demanded, and re 
ceived, the price of a healthy animal. 

Directly below our house was Solomon s Quarries. 

The entrance was an opening in the ground about three feet high. 
Cousin Rob set out alone one day to explore the excavations made 
by King Solomon. It is supposed that the stone to build the Temple 
came from these quarries. It is very white, and Josephus describes 
the Temple as "a mountain of snow." 

Rob wrote of his adventure: 

I took a lantern and a ball of string and started in. The bats flew 
past my face by the hundred, but I kept on, tied my string fast, and 
went through blackness, room after room, from which stone had been 

He saw marks of ancient iron picks on the walls, and wandered 
on and on, even after his string ran out. But he knew this subter- 


ranean roving was dangerous^ so he finally retraced his steps. He 
had entered the quarry in daylight and when he came out it was 
night. The quarries ran underground from the north end almost to 
the Dome of the Rock. 
Another time Rob wrote: 

The other day we were visiting a vineyard outside the city, on the 
north side. In the vineyard was a rock-hewn tomb. [Rob is not describing 
the so-called Garden Tomb but another tomb of earlier date]. 

You go down a hill to the entrance, enter a large room hewn from 
solid rock where a cistern opens, then another doorway you stoop to 
enter, as in the Bible "stooping down" you descend three steps into an 
other room. In this, niches were cut to hold bodies, and in the center was 
a shallow place cut about ten inches deep. . . . 

On such a place the Lord was laid. I tell you, this sight made me feel 
the nearness of God. . . . 

North of the Damascus Gate on the Nablus Road is the "Tombs 
of the Kings." The name is misleading; it is not, as one would think, 
the tombs of the kings of Judah, but the tomb .of Queen Helena of 
Adiabene in Asia Minor, who became a convert to Judaism and 
whose philanthropic distribution of help in time of the famine spoken 
of in The Acts won the respect of the Jews. Here she was buried, 
with her sons and grandsons, in this masterpiece of man s workman 
ship. The tomb has enormous courts and steps leading down and 
reservoirs with the rock-cut gutters to conduct the rain water to 
them which was used for the washing of the dead all hewn out 
of solid rock. Beautiful carvings adorn the outside of the tomb. Here 
was an example of the "rolling stone" in perfect condition. 

Rob wrote of his first visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, 
"rather hodgepodge from being destroyed and repaired so many 

Thousands come to worship here from all parts of the world. This 
alone makes it sacred. But on entering you see Turkish custodians sitting 
cross-legged on an elevated platform. Just think of its being necessary, 
in the most sacred church of Christendom, to place a lot of these men 
there to keep Christians from fighting. 

This church, so familiar to us as children, had a large courtyard 
and Rob describes the way it was "always crowded with vendors of 
rosaries, relics, pictures, and the endless little knickknacks of olive- 
wood made for the tourists and pilgrims, and the miserable-looking 
beggars raised the cry of baksheesh with redoubled vigor there." 

Rob wrote that "it was impossible to imagine the wealth repre 
sented in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, with its costly images, 


jeweled halos, and altars covered with precious articles of gemmed 
silver and gold." 

So little of Jerusalem lay outside the walls in 1881 that I remem 
ber Mother saying that she could look out from our roof over the 
Damascus Gate and count the buildings outside the walls on the 
fingers of her two hands. Looking from our roof now it seems un 
believable that such a change could have taken place in sixty-eight 
years. Jerusalem is at least ten times larger. 

Beyond the walls were a few scattered buildings, with fields and 
olive groves between and unpaved roads that were dusty in summer 
and rivers of mud in winter. 

As a child I picked flowers outside the walls, first the big anem 
ones with long stems one must go far to find them now then 
the red ranunculus with its tinge of yellow; later the scarlet poppy 
with its black cross. These carpeted the fields, and we came to be 
lieve the "lilies of the field that toil not" were meant to mean 
Palestine s flowers in the aggregate and not one individual flower. 
The flowers begin in March and reach their peak of color in April 
and May. Then the drought comes, and there are few flowers in 

We longed for green as we longed for rain. The principal trees 
were olives, their silvery green too often veiled in dust. Palms and 
citrus were along the coast, but it was too cold for these in Jerusalem. 
A few palms survived ancient planting. Later, when we moved our 
residence outside the walls, we planted palms in the garden. 

Sometimes summer started early and other years we would have 
a late spring. Mother s first letters home speak of "brazen skies 
without a cloud," and in our first May, she wrote with delight that 
we had rain, "an almost unheard-of thing here*" 

About half a mile north of the Damascus Gate is the Sheik Jarah 
Mosque, supposed to be named for the surgeon of Saladin s army. 
Jarah means surgeon in Arabic, and he may have been the identical 
Jarah sent to King Richard by Saladin, made immortal in Lord 
Beaconfield s Tancred. 

Between the mosque and the Damascus Gate in those days there 
was a still smaller mosque or well dedicated to two lovers, Sa ad 
and Se ed. During Whitsuntide the olive groves surrounding this 
shrine would be filled with Christian, Moslem, and Jewish picnickers. 
They brought out their tom-toms and other musical instruments, 
pitched tents, and spent a happy and carefree week in a way that has 
quite disappeared. 

Close to the Sheik Jarah Mosque was a cluster of houses sur 
rounded by large vineyards where grape clusters grew, as they will 


in Palestine, some three and four and a half feet long. Several of 
these houses, since enlarged, are now the American Colony, The 
largest was bought from the Husseini family. This is one of the oldest 
Moslem families in Palestine. They claim descent from Hussein, one 
of the two sons of Fatima, the Prophet Mohammed s only daughter. 

In one of these houses lived Rabbah Effendi, who was, I suppose, 
the richest and therefore the most powerful member of this large 
family. He was an old man when we knew him; he was still head of 
his clan. One story his family loved to tell about him was that many 
years before he gave a picnic in one of the vineyards. It must have 
been about May, for it was the season of ripe mish-mish, as apricots 
are called in Arabic. 

In those days the summit of the Mount of the Olives, reaching as 
far as Bethany, was covered with mish-mish trees. The trees were 
later demolished by a scourge of locusts which visited Palestine in 
1864, and they were never replanted, because of the severity of the 
Turkish law taxing fruit-bearing or any trees from the date of plant-, 

One of the guests at the picnic was the "Father of Wind," as the. 
sheik of the village on the summit of Olivet was appropriately 
named. He brought a large basket of the ripe mish-mish as a present 
to his host, Rabbah Efiendi, who said to his guests: 

"Shall I divide this fruit among you with the justice of God or the 
justice of man?" 

"With the justice of God!" the guests shouted in unison. 

So Rabbah Effendi gave to one man a single apricot, to others 
two, to another twenty, or five, and so on in a seemingly hap 
hazard manner. If a guest tried to protest, Rabbah Effendi put up 
his hand for silence until he had finished his work of division. Then a 
burst of protest came from his guests. "We asked for the justice of 

Their host stopped them with dignity. "Is this not the way God 
divides His bounty?" 


JACOB ELIAHU was two years younger than my cousin Rob and 
his closest friend. His parents were Sephardic or Spanish Jews who 
had come to Palestine from Turkey, and were among the first con 
verts made by the London Mission to Jews, i.e,, London Jews 7 
Society, in Jerusalem. Jacob was born in Ramallah, a village about 
twelve miles north of Jerusalem, where his mother had gone to 
escape a cholera epidemic then raging in the Holy City* 

He was seventeen years old and a pupil-teacher in the Boys 
School conducted by the London Mission when he left the mission 
and came to live with us in the American Colony. Father continued 
his education, and a year later I found a note of Father s: "During 
family prayers on July 9, 1883, Rob and Jacob were formally 
adopted to be our children." 

Later he took our name and assumed great responsibilities in the 
American Colony as Jacob Spafford* 

Jacob was above the average in intellect, with the oriental aptitude 
for languages. He spoke five fluently, with a partial knowledge of 
several others. He was interested in archaeology, and the year before 
we came to Jerusalem he discovered the Siloam Inscription. 

The year before our arrival, when Jacob was sixteen and a scholar 
in the Boys* School of the London Mission to the Jews, his imagina 
tion was fired by learning about the subterranean tunnel in the 
Ophal Hill that had been excavated by King Hezekiah to bring water 
inside the threatened city. King Hezekiah lived in what is called the 
Middle Iron Age, or early Iron Age II, and when threatened with 
siege by the King of Assyria 

Hezekiah took council with his princes and his mighty men to stop 
the waters of the fountain which were without the city, and they did 
help him. (II Chronicles XXXII:3.) And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah 
and all his might, and how he made a pool and a conduit and brought 
water into the city. . . . Are they not written in the book of Chronicles 
of the Kings of Judah? (II Kings XX:20.) 

On the approach of Sennacherib, Hezekiah diverted the spring 
through the tunnel that pierces the hill sinuously and empties its 


waters into the Pool of Siloam; by covering up the spring the water 
was thus insured for the city but made inaccessible to the enemies. 
(II Chronicles 32:2-4.) From the overflow of these waters the 
King s gardens were sustained. 

The tunnel therefore ran from what was now called the Virgin s 
Fount or Well to the Pool of Siloam. 

The Virgin s Fount was the small living spring where, it is quite 
certain, the first small Jebuzite settlement stood that became Jeru 
salem, and the women of the city drew water and did their washing 

It is supposed to be haunted by a dragon or genie. Even in Biblical 
times Nehemiah referred to it as "the Dragon Well." 

Nevertheless, Jacob determined to explore the tunnel. 

Because of its reputation for being haunted he had some trouble 
persuading his friend Sampson, a boy about his own age, to explore 
it with him, but at last he was persuaded. The boys kept their plan 
a profound secret. 

They had no idea of the height or width or length of the tunnel, 
nor how deep the water. They prepared floats with candle and 
matches attached, and tied these around their necks with strings. 
Jacob started from the Pool of Siloam side while Sampson entered 
from the Virgin s Fount. Their plan was to meet in the middle. 

Jacob found himself in total darkness and muddy water up to his 
chin. It was cold and drafty in the tunnel, his candle blew out, his 
float with the matches submerged in the water, and he could not re 
light the candle. But he kept on, guiding his way by keeping his hand 
on the damp stone wall and feeling under his fingertips the marks 
of ancient chisels going forward, from right to left. 

The tunnel he followed forms an enormous arid irregular S, a fact 
that has puzzled archaeologists. Why did the King s engineers follow 
this crooked course and not a straight line? Pere Vincent wrote of 
this "wonderful installation" in his book Underground Jerusalem: 
"Its curious form arouses curiosity. Why this long, winding circuit? 
Being almost a semicircle, instead of a straight line direct from the 
spring?" M. Clermont-Ganneau, the French archaeologist, suggested 
that the great sweep of curve might be to avoid the rock-hewn tombs 
of the Kings of Judah. 

Jacob, feeling his way, suddenly was conscious that the chisel 
marks had changed and were now going from left to right. He real 
ized he must be in the exact place where the King s workmen had 
met under the city. Carefully he felt all around the walls, and was 
certain that his fingers detected an inscription chiseled in the stone. 

He hurried through the watery tunnel to tell Sampson. A point of 
light shone ahead and he knew that he must have reached the other 


end and was coming out at the Virgin s Fount where he was certain 
Sampson would be waiting. He did not know Sampson had long 
since abandoned his friend and gone back to school. 

Jacob rose out of the pool dripping muddy water and half blind 
from the dark tunnel, and dimly perceived many figures about. 
Among them was a lad about Sampson s size. Jacob clutched him, 
crying: "Sampson, I have succeeded!" 

It was not Sampson but a peasant boy, who thought the genie of 
the tunnel had captured him, and collapsed into the water in a dead 

The women about the pool, filling their jars with water and doing 
their washing, nearly tore Jacob to pieces. He ran for his life, fol 
lowed by their screamed curses. 

When he reached school, he confessed the escapade to the head 
master. He expected punishment. Instead, his report of an inscription 
in the Siloam tunnel caused a sensation in the school and throughout 
Jerusalem. Plans were soon afoot to investigate, but before they 
were completed a Greek with an eye to financial gain entered the 
tunnel by night and blasted the inscription out of the solid rock, 
breaking it in the process. Before he was able to spirit it away the 
Turkish authorities captured him. He paid for the theft, and the 
inscription is now in the museum at Istanbul, with the crack plainly 
across it. 

The inscription is not on a separate piece of stone but crudely cut 
in the wall, very likely by one of the workmen. Its translation was 
published by the Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 
for July 1881: 

Behold the excavation. Now this has been the history of the excava 
tion. While the workmen were still lifting up the pick, each toward his 
neighbor, and while three cubits still remained to be cut through, each 
heard the voice of the other who called to his neighbor since there was 
an excess of rock on the right hand and on the left. And on the day of 
the excavation the workmen struck each to meet his neighbor pick against 
pick and there flowed the waters from the spring to the pool for a thou 
sand two hundred cubits and a hundred cubits was the height of the rock 
over the head of the workmen. 

Professor Sayce, the great archaeological authority, described the 
Siloam Inscription as the oldest record of Biblical Hebrew yet dis 
covered. Subsequent discoveries, the Samaria Ostraka, for example, 
are older. 

My foster brother often told the thrilling story of the Siloam In 
scription. But Jacob spoke of the discovery as made by "a school 
boy." He seldom mentioned the fact, weU known to archaeologists, 
that he was that boy. 


Jacob was one of my teachers. 

I always say I was educated in spots, but I found many who 
enjoyed a regulated curriculum who feel the same way. 

When the late Dr. Mary E. Wooley, president of Holyoke College 
where my daughter Tanetta graduated, asked me to address her 
students, I was warned I might find the girls inattentive or blase. I 
made up my mind to shock them into listening, and opened my talk 
with the assertion that I had never been to school a day in my life. 

I had no trouble holding their attention after that. 

On another occasion an association of university women in Jeru 
salem asked me to join. I was pleased that the kind ladies should 
consider me eligible, and startled them, I think, by confessing that I 
had not only never attended a university, I had never attended any 
school, only a kindergarten. 

This was the kindergarten of Miss Clara Johanna Brooke, the 
English missionary who was headmistress of the London Jews So 
ciety. Miss Mary Hornstein was my teacher, later my dear friend, 
and I have two memories of this short session with formal educa 
tion, a note of Father s of a birthday present I made him of a 
"pussy s head framed with straw," and of coming to Miss Mary and 
asking her to wash my cheeks, and when she asked me why, answer 
ing: "Because the boys have been kissing me." 

In a letter to Aunt Rachel in February 1882 Father mentions 
that I was attending Miss Brooke s kindergarten and that I was given 
to writing my aunt letters "which I fear Mr. Rudy, with lacking re 
spect, never mails." I can understand Mr. Rudy intercepting these 
missives, for I have a specimen: 


How I wod like to see you i am a big gril now I am five now. ther 
are no florss now or I wad send you some. 

My papa has skul [school] with us every day too or thee ars. after 
skul Flora gose to sister Carline and has sowing too or tree ars then she 
plase or woks her sum She is 12 now. She has got nu doll I havnt got 

any doll 

from Bertha 

to Anty. 

I soon stopped going to the London Jews Society. Miss Brooke 
became interested in the Bible-study classes Father was conducting 
and was thinking of joining when one of the mission heads who 
disapproved of the Group, ordered her not to visit the American 
Colony. This arbitrary order helped her decide which course to take. 

That summer of 1882 the Whiting children, Ruth and John 
David, were "dedicated to the Lord." Miss Brooke and six other 


guests were invited, and our servants were also present. Father bap 
tized the children. 

I have heard I disgraced myself at the baptism. A beautifully 
decorated cake stood in readiness for tea on a low table, with sil 
vered candies and roses made of frosting in the decoration. We 
seldom had a large cake, and while everyone else had their eyes 
shut in reverent prayer my naughty little fingers were picking off 
the candies. I suppose I was punished, but as I never seem to re 
member my punishments I must have felt that I deserved what I got 
and held no resentment. That I was sometimes spanked by Mother is 
certain, for once when Father tried, I turned around over his knee 
and told him he should hit harder, for Mother s spanking hurt more. 

After the baptism Miss Brooke turned to Mrs. Gould. 

"The Lord is very near to you all here," she said. "I want the 
Lord to take the same tender care of me." 

Mrs. Gould said she might have that care as she chose, that we did 
not claim any special or singular treatment, we only desired to live 
"very close to God, and that God came very close to us." 

Miss Brooke then spoke to Father and Mother, and as a result 
she left the English Mission School and came to live at the American 
Colony. She took charge of our education, and Aunt Maggie implies 
in a letter that the Colony was educating Miss Brooke. She had been 
the type of Christian, Auntie writes, "who has been very strict in 
keeping the exact letter. She is learning now that the letter killeth 
but the spirit makes alive. 5 " 

The British Consul, Mr. Moore, had a large family, and his three 
younger children, two sons and a daughter, came over every day on 
donkeyback to share our splendid teacher. 

As I have mentioned, I was educated at home, and my teachers 
were excellent, first Father and Aunt Maggie, then Miss Brooke, and 
Mr. Drake the young Church of England chaplain who came to 
Palestine with General Gordon and my foster brother Jacob. 

I can understand my parents, who had lost five children, not want 
ing to put eight thousand miles between themselves and Grace and 
me. But when I became a mother, my husband agreed with me, and 
we sent our six children to school and college in the United States. 

The salvation of the British colonists has always been in their 
sending their children back to English schools. It is all too easy to 
lapse in an alien land. All around us in Jerusalem we saw families 
who had lost their standards of living. 

We children were never allowed to wear the attractive native 
costumes, as this might be construed as a letting down of standards. 
But we did wear at home, and loved, the little red native slippers. 

Most of all, I missed school companionship in my schooling. 


Mother s stanchest friends were those who had been her school 
mates, and I missed contacts made early, when one is more trustful 
and less critical and friendships made then often remain firm through 

Still, there were enough colony children for pleasant times. There 
were the Whitings, Flora Page, my sister Grace and I, and often 
Arabic children came in to play with us so that we learned to speak 
Arabic as well as we did English. Only a few who learn Arabic as 
adults speak it correctly. 

As we brought no belongings, we had very few books and fewer 
toys. There were no native toys; the children of Jerusalem did not 
know how to play, but the Floyds sent us some from Jaffa and 
Father and Mr. Whiting made us pinewood blocks, and with a fret 
saw they made us jigsaw puzzles, pasting pictures on thin board and 
cutting them into pieces. Rob also made toys for us, little chairs and 
tables and cradles, and a wonderful doll carriage of spools and a 
little peasant basket. 

Books were more difficult to get. The Turkish censors held books 
for months in Jaffa and then they would "get lost." Some arrived 
censored without reason. For example, Dr. van Dyke s Out-of-doors 
in the Holy Land, the most innocent and even reverent sort of book, 
arrived with entire sentences cut out. 

But we had Shakespeare and other classics, and Plutarch s Lives, 
and an old encyclopedia which we wore to ribbons, and, best of all, 
Father and Mother told us stories. We knew all the children s fairy 
tales, and, better still, the Bible stories, for all we saw around us was 
straight from the Bible and we saw them being lived. 

The Bible stories were familiar to me before I could write. I can 
remember carrying my big Bible, which I could not read, to Sunday 
school, which was held in the large living room or in the sewing 

Living in the Holy Land we almost spoke in Biblical speech, and 
I still find myself saying, "I verily believe . . ." 

We became archaeologists as children, and all we experienced we 
tried to translate in Biblical terms. 

In our garden was a cemetery we kept for years, where all our pets 
were buried. Twice we had pet gazelles that we had to keep tied up 
for fear of "pye-dogs," the scavenger dogs of mixed origin that would 
set on a helpless animal left alone. One tangled and choked itself 
and we had a splendid funeral. 

Then there was our pet sheep, that, grazing in a pleasant meadow, 
toppled over and died before our eyes without apparent reason, until 
we found on its nose the mark of a sand viper, one of the few poison 
ous snakes in the Holy Land. His enemy, of course, we children 


reasoned! From that time on we were convinced that the Twenty- 
Third Psalm was entirely a pastoral song: "The Lord is my Shep 
herd . . . Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine 
enemies . . ." 

When in the hot summers, in the far pastures, we saw the shep 
herds anoint their heads with olive oil, we remembered: "Thou 
anointest my head with oil." 

The Arabs believe that running water is pure, but there were few 
running streams around Jerusalem, and cisterns and troughs held the 
never-adequate supply of water. So the Arabs let water pour: "My 
cup runneth over." 

I remember the summer I was five, standing on a stool in the 
nursery wearing crisp white muslin while Nora, the nurse, tied my 
sash in preparation for a children s party. My greedy eyes were on a 
level with the broad stone window ledge where Grace s can of con 
densed milk was kept for coolness, as there was no ice. Nora had to 
leave the room for some reason and on her way out turned to me and 
said, "Now don t touch the condensed milk while I m gone." 

I loved condensed milk and still do, and of course her warning 
gave me an irresistible urge, and Nora returned to find the evidence 
of guilt smearing my face and party dress* 

Soon after this I was in Sunday school. It was our custom to learn 
a verse each Sunday. I was too young to read, but I opened my Bible, 
laid my finger on a verse, and said, "Teacher, may I learn this one?" 

She read the verse: "Touch not, taste not, handle not*" 

"Does that mean condensed milk?" I demanded. 

Evidently she knew of my misdeed in the nursery, for she smiled 
and agreed that it must. 

Some years later I insisted to Father that it was expressly forbidden 
in the Bible to touch condensed milk. After some discussion I turned 
to Colossians 2:21 to prove my point, and it was a shock when I 
could not find the words "condensed milk," I had been so certain 
they were there. 

Five is not too young for hero worship, and my hero was a fre 
quent visitor to our house, General Charles George "Chinese" 
Gordon, "the fabulous hero of the Sudan." He was fulfilling a lifelong 
dream with a year s furlough in Palestine, studying Biblical history 
and the antiquities of Jerusalem. 

This was the only peaceful time the general had known in many 
years, and it was to be his last. He was the hero of the siege of 
Sebastopol and the occupation of Peking, As head of the "Ever- 
Victorious Army" in China he had taken Suchow. He had been 
awarded the Yellow Jacket, the highest Chinese honor, and was a 


Companion of the Bath. As Governor General of the Sudan he had 
traveled eighty-five hundred miles in three years, on camel- and mule- 
back, always trying to eradicate the evils of slave trading and to 
improve the living conditions of the people. His genius lay not only 
in generalship, but also in diplomacy. He had the ability to make 
peace between great nations and the power of making friends with 
and befriending the common man. He once rode alone into an enemy 
camp to discuss terms. 

The general lived in a rented house in the village of Ein Karim in 
"hill country of Judea," which is one of the sites shown as being the 
birthplace of John the Baptist. No road led from Ein Karim in those 
days, only a bridle path wound over the hills, and General Gordon 
came often from his village home to Jerusalem riding a white donkey. 
He had a servant, a man of all work and cook, named Joseph, and 
as he was a native of Ramleh, the traditional Aramathea, General 
Gordon called him "Joseph of Aramathea." 

Whenever General Gordon came to our house a chair was put out 
for him on our flat roof and he spent hours there, studying his Bible, 
meditating, planning. 

It was there that he conceived the idea that the hill opposite the 
north wall was in reality Golgotha, the "Place of the Skull," men 
tioned in Matthew, 27:33, Mark 15:22, and John 19:17. 

He gave Father a map and a sketch that he made, showing the hill 
as a man s figure, with the skull as the cornerstone. Part of the scarp 
of the rock of what is known as Jeremiah s Grotto made a perfect 
death s-head, complete with eyesockets, crushed nose, and gaping 

Ever since then this hill has been known as "Gordon s Calvary," 
although archaeologists are skeptical on the subject, and some prefer 
the site of the Holy Sepulcher. Until excavations place the correct 
location of the second wall there will always be a controversy over 1 

Father did not agree with all the general s visionary ideas, but he 
liked to talk about these and many other subjects with him, and they 
were good friends. 

Mother wanted General Gordon to have peace when he was medi 
tating on the roof, and cautioned me not to disturb him, but I would 
creep up the roof stairs and crouch behind a chimney; there I would 
wait. I watched him reading his Bible and lifting his eyes to study the 
hill, and my vigil was always rewarded, for at last he would call me 
and take me on his knee and tell me stories. He was not very tall, 
and had fair, curly hair, and I remember how blue his eyes were, and 
the blue double-breasted suit he wore. 

He told one .special story about a brave knight who lived and 


died in Palestine and who killed a dragon. Not until I was much 
older did I realize that he was telling me about Saint George and the 
Dragon, and of the town of Lydda, about twenty miles from Jeru 
salem, where Saint George was born, and buried after his death by 
torture at Nicomedia. The Mohammedans identify Saint George with 
the Prophet Elijah. 

I did not know General Gordon was famous, only that he was my 
friend, and I loved him. 

I always say the general taught me to swear. This has shocked 
those who made a saint of him, but to me it makes him more lovable, 
less the myth and more the man, and besides, I did not retain the 

He often stayed for meals, and once Mother asked him to stay to 
lunch, and he accepted, adding, "I hope you are not having chicken." 

Then he told us how Joseph asked every morning: "General, sir, 
what shall we have for dinner?" "Well, Joseph, what have you got?" 
"I have chicken, Sir General." "Then have chicken, Joseph." This 
was repeated daily, until one morning the general saw Joseph ap 
proaching and anticipated him by saying, "Damn it, have chicken 
for dinner." 

The general gave one of his hearty laughs and said: "And now 
you see, Mrs. Spafiord, why I do not want chicken." 

I was taking all this in, and soon after, when asked about my 
supper, which was invariably bread and milk, I said, "Damn it, have 
bread and milk." 

To my utter consternation I was punished. For many years I 
puzzled why, when General Gordon said "damn," Mother had smiled, 
but when I said it, I was spanked. 

Before his year of furlough was over General Gordon was called 
away from Palestine. He left in 1883; there was revolt in the Sudan. 
Then we heard of the dreadful siege of Khartoum in 188485, and 
of General Gordon holding it, with only one white officer and native 
troups, long after it seemed any human power could hold it. I heard 
Father and Mother discussing the siege. The general thought his 
uncanny power over the dervishes would keep him inviolate, and I 
heard Father and Mother speaking of this. The world knows what 
followed, how Kitchener sent his army into the Sudan to his rescue, 
but it was too late. Khartoum had fallen, and the revolutionists, 
knowing of the approach of the British across the desert, made haste 
to kill General Gordon. 

He left his communion service and a few trinkets in Father s care. 
Father gave them to his friend Mr. Henry Oilman when he was the 
American Consul in Jerusalem. 

The Rev. Herbert Drake, the young chaplain who had come to 


Palestine with General Gordon, whether in an official capacity or not 
I do not know, stayed on after the general left and joined the Ameri 
can Colony. He gave me lessons, especially in English literature. 

Besides taking charge of the education of the children of our Group, 
Father and Mr. Drake and Miss Brooke taught English in several 
schools and to Christian and Arab individuals as well. 

Father was never able to master Arabic, but Cousin Rob in about 
nine months learned the language sufficiently to serve as Father s 
interpreter and accompanied him on a horseback trip through 
Samaria and Galilee. 

Father wrote this hymn while riding along the beautiful Galilean 
Lake shore: 

Blessed Land of Galilee 

O Blessed land of Galilee! 

Rare was the lot that fell to thee 
Familiar to His gaze so long: 

So oft thy paths His feet among 

Chorus : 

O Galilee, dear Galilee, 

Knit with His life and ministry! 
What shall thy heights and vales yet see? 

Thrice-blessed land of Galilee? 

Ye heard the cries, ye saw the tears. 

The suffering of those -waiting years, 
Ye saw Him stand in glittering white; 

Ye saw Him clothed in risen might. 

To toilers on thy hill-bound sea, 

First came His word, "Come, follow me!" 

And men from out thy coasts -were those 
His lips last blessed, that day He rose. 

O Galilee that lieth now, 

A stranger s brand upon thy brow, 
By strangers? feet thy shrine downtrod, 

Yet standeth sure the -word of God! 

The longer Father remained in Palestine the more he found of in 
terest. Bible history, of which he had long been a student and an 
authority, was unfolded to him in a new light, illuminated by living 
in the country and seeing the people and becoming acquainted with 
their customs at firsthand. Archaeology at this time was emerging 
from amateur to scientific handling and in consequence was increas- 


ingly important. The pursuit of botany, stimulated by the large num 
ber of wild flowers in the spring, was a continual source of pleasure 
to him* He regretted the denuding of the hills and mountains of trees 
by wanton cutting down with no reforestation through centuries of 
Turkish misrule. He deplored the consequent erosion of the soil, 
exposing rock, and making the country look barren and arid. He 
spoke much about the necessity of planting trees. He tried to stimu 
late tree planting, but as the Turkish policy was to tax a tree from 
the date of planting there was no incentive. 

I found an entry in Father s diary in January 1883 saying that he 
had received from his friend John B. Cotton of Tasmania a packet 
of blue gum tree seeds that he had sent for. Througji his friend Mr. 
Nissim Behar this packet of seeds was given to Mr. Netter, then head 
master of Mikveh Israel Agricultural School near Jaffa. At that time 
Mikveh Israel was conducted by the Alliance Israelite. 

Father adds, "May a mighty blessing come through these seeds to 

In 1940 I told the late Dr, Arthur Rupin about this discovery in 
Father s diary. Dr. Rupin searched the school records and f ound that 
the group of eucalyptus trees in the grounds near the schoolhouse 
had been planted in the spring of 1883 by Mr. Netter. My husband 
and I, with Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Rupin, visited the school soon after 
this. We made the acquaintance of Mr. Klause, the present head 
master of Mikveh Israel Agricultural School and his talented daugh 
ter. We visited the different departments and saw a few Jewish and 
Arab lads learning to become farmers, using modern methods and 
machinery; we saw cows that the school had crossed and recrossed 
with different European breeds making a species that are good 
milkers, able to stand the Palestine climate, and, most of all, could 
subsist and produce milk on the minimum of green fodder. We were 
gratified to find a few Arabs who were broadminded enough to allow 
politics to take a back seat and to avail themselves of what they could 
learn at the school. 

We were interested to see youths who had been rescued from Nazi 
tyranny trying to forget the horrors of their experience in wholesome 
outdoor occupation. But to me the high spot of the afternoon was to 
stand under the mammoth trees while their branches met overhead 
like a Gothic cathedral. I felt that the moment was sacred as I thought 
what one person s vision had done for Palestine. A simple act: just 
a few seeds planted in a fertile soil! These trees, as far as we can 
know, are grandfathers and great-grandfathers of all the eucalyptus 
trees in Palestine. Dr. Rupin said that this group of trees should be 
called the "Spafford forest/ 

What greater memorial could Father have? Now there are euca- 


lyptus trees everywhere in Palestine. They are quick-growing, they 
supply firewood and useful lumber, and they are planted in swamps 
to help absorb the superfluous water, thus turning malaria-ridden 
places into healthy localities. "A mighty blessing ... to Palestine." 
As I stood under those magnificent trees I thought how truly 
Father s prayer had been answered. 


I AM often asked how the "work" of the American Colony 

Soon after we were settled in our house on the city wall we went 
on a picnic to Wad ez Joz, which means "the valley of walnut trees," 
although only a few were left standing in the valley that was once 
filled with beautiful trees. One comes to realize, in a treeless land 
like Palestine, the meaning of "the shadow of a rock in a weary land." 
There are many more rocks than trees in the Holy Land. 

Above, on the hill, were some Mohammedan residences, and a 
young man, hearing our merry voices, came down to investigate. We 
had not known we were trespassing on his land. Through an inter 
preter he asked who we were and what we were doing. He was very 
friendly and Father invited him to share our picnic lunch. Mother 
was feeding Grace her bottle, and he was interested. "My mother has 
twin baby girls she cannot nurse," he said, and added that she was 
trying, without much success, to feed them artificially. Mother went 
at once to his house and was given a friendly reception. She told the 
mother, through an interpreter, how ill baby Grace had been and 
how, through experience, she had learned what foods agreed with 
hen The twins were put on Nestle s Condensed Milk, the only tinned 
milTc we could buy in the market, and a friendship began that lasted 
to the present day and which was to start child welfare and nursing 
in the Holy City. The grapevine method of transmitting information 
soon spread the news. 

The young man who joined our picnic was Mehedean Effendi 
Husseini and one of his baby sisters whose life Mother saved was Sitt 
Zakieh, who became the wife of Musa Kazmi Pasha, at one time the 
great nationalist leader of the Arabs who is buried in the Dome of the 
Rock compound the Arab Westminster. 

Immediately after the picnic in Wad ez Joz the Group was asked 
to give private lessons and instruction in schools. 

Soon Mother s letters home were filled with accounts of the work 
that needed to be done far more than the Group had the strength 
or ability for. She, Mrs. Gould, and Mrs. Whiting were nursing many 
sick people and teaching Arab and Jewish mothers how to care for 


their children, and Father and other men of the Group were teach 
ing English and nursing. 

They were beginning to find the consolation and healing of their 
spirits that they had hoped to find in Jerusalem. 

Before long our house was a gathering place. Father s Bible-study 
classes were popular. The mothers meetings conducted by Mother 
and Mrs. Gould were well attended. More people, Arabs and Jews, 
flocked to the daily meetings and to hear the singing. 

The days were not long enough to accomplish all they were asked 
to do. They had not anticipated this need, and were happy in the 
openings for usefulness they found. 

Before long our Group was conducting a sort of Y.M.C.A. or 
settlement work. Settlement work, as we know it now in Hull House 
Settlement in Chicago, Henry Street Settlement in New York, and 
Bethnel Green Settlement in London, had not yet started. Our work 
pre-dated any settlement work, although it resembled it more than 
any other. 

Mother wrote to her sister, Aunt Rachel: 

Last Saturday two hundred and twenty Jews came and among them 
were three learned Rabbis. About twenty of them surrounded Horatio, 
with the three Rabbis, for discussion. Horatio would not enter into any 
argument with them. He said that only love would conquer the world, 
and before they left they seemed melted. Their questions made us realize 
so clearly how Christ had to answer them. They talk in the same man 
ner now. "Do you keep the law? * That is their great question. They are 
exceedingly polite to us, which they are not to everyone. They have in 
vited us to their synagogues and to their Feast of Tabernacles. . , . 
One Sunday we had two Mohammedan Effendis, rich and learned men 
who came to inquire about our religion. They took dinner with us. At 
the same time we had two Greeks. They sat down together as happy as 
could be. Sheik Racheed Arakat and Abou Nasib came too. Miss Brooke 
can speak to the Jews in French or German, and Jacob can speak to 
them in Spanish, Rob can speak Arabic, so we get on beautifully. 

A description of the Colony was written by our friend the late 
Rev. T. F. Wright after a visit to Palestine: 

There is in Jerusalem at the present time a remarkable American 
Colony which it was my privilege carefully to examine. The house of 
these Americans is daily visited by persons coming from all parts of the 
land to inquire into this wonderful phenomenon. The Bedouins of the 
desert lean their tall spears against the wall and are cordially welcomed. 
The fellaheen, or peasant class of the country, find always here a cor 
dial welcome. No evening passes without seeing its company of poor and 
rich, of peasants and Turkish effendis gathered in the salon, to listen to 
the hymns, which the Americans sweetly sing, and everyone on leaving 


the room expresses his gratitude for what he has come to regard as the 
greatest comfort of his life. Mohammedans and all classes in Jerusalem 
are reached for good, and a lesson is taught us in regard to the spirit in 
which Christian missions should be carried on. 

I was never afraid of the tall Bedouins and their spears. But then 
I was never very much afraid of anything until I met up with the New 
York subways. 

One of the first friends Father made in Jerusalem was Mr. Nissim 
Behar, headmaster of a boys* school conducted by the Alliance 
Israelite, attended by both Arabs and Jews, Father volunteered to 
give English lessons to the boys. Mr. Behar was a highly educated 
French Jew, a public-spirited man of culture, and his friendship was 
a source of much pleasure to Father. Through these classes Father 
came in contact with and taught English to many who are now among 
Jersualem s prominent citizens, both Arabs and Jews. 

Some of Father s pupils were not so apt at learning English as 
others. Ali supplied us with many amusing anecdotes. "One devil! 
One devil!* he exclaimed when the sunsets from our windows were 
particularly beautiful, convinced he was saying: "Wonderful!" 

Once, when he was incapable of pronouncing a difficult word, he 
challenged Father, "Can you say this in Arabic?" and rattled off 
a catchy limerick. Father could not twist his tongue or use his throat 
to pronounce the Arabic guttural sounds, so he turned the tables on 
Ali by saying, "You try to pronounce, It is a suspicious hypothesis, 
and *I guarantee the authenticity, and it will be my turn to laugh." 
Ali mastered these sentences after much practice. One day when he 
was on the "Green Hill" (Gordon s Calvary) he met a tourist, an 
American clergyman. Ali was a dealer in antiquities and had a quick 
eye to business. He saw in this gentleman a potential purchaser of 
his antiques, so he approached him with an old coin in his hand. "Is 
it genuine?" asked the American. "I guarantee the authenticity," 
answered Ali. The gentleman was impressed. "Seeing your English 
is so excellent and your intelligence so good, please tell me," he said, 
"whether this is actually the place of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?" 
Ali looked at the man and repeated the only other English sentence 
he knew perfectly. "It is a suspicious hypothesis," he said. The 
clergyman was dumfounded. "Where did you learn your English?" 

Ali s education and culture, given him by the American. Colony, 
sent his family far up in the social scale. We are dealing now with his 
descendants. Every day, through the Arab-Jewish troubles, Ali s 
great-graiidson called at the American Colony to see if all went well 
with us. 

The Arab s sense of humor is different from ours. They are touchy 
but Immorous, and love to play practical jokes, and even the children 


play them. They like to laugh, and are highly amused by funny words. 
Our Arab friends would try to get Father to repeat odd-sounding 
words and double up in glee at his atrocious Arabic. 

Another friend, Abou Yousef, dealt in charcoal, and when we 
could afford it, we bought from him. The open fireplaces in which .we 
burned it were the only means we had for cooking in those days. 
When money got scarce, we told Abou Yousef not to bring charcoal 
at regular intervals as had been his wont, but to wait until we ordered 
it, and naturally we would order it only when we had money to pay 
for it. Abou Yousef took no notice of our admonition, but kept our 
charcoal room full all through our lean years. Mr. Rudy kept strict 
account of what he brought. However, Abou Yousef trusted us. He 
was devoted to Father. He said once that Abou Horatio had the head 
of a king or sultan and he was going to pray to God to make him one. 

Abou Yousef could not understand a word of English but he came 
regularly every day to the Colony and sat through the morning family 
prayers. He wore a white turban and robe and looked venerable. 
When he became old and deaf, and could hear nothing of what was 
taking place, it made no difference, he still came and remained silent, 
sometimes fingering his prayer beads, until our Christian prayers were 
over, and then he would go away. He said he could feel the spirit of 
the prayers. This continued until he died. Some of our Group nursed 
him through his last illness, which happened while I was in America, 
about 1895. But before he died we were able to pay him in full. 

Another Moslem who came frequently to our home wore a green 
turban and was the custodian of a mosque on the western boundary 
of the city limits. In a note Mrs. Gould wrote: "The Dervish came 
and said he wanted to spend the three hours in prayer here, rather 
than in the Haram es Shareef ." 

I reproduce these notes because they show the friendly feeling be 
tween the community and the Colony. 

Cousin Rob commented in a letter: 

We have been greatly favored in our relationship with the Arabs. While 
other Europeans and Americans complain of the Turks and Arabs and 
warn us against them, we go right into their gardens and find people 
ready to do any favor for us. We have met the greatest kindness, bankers 
and merchants give us credit without asking for security, and not only 
give us this, but offer it of their own free will. 

As the work grew, the American Colony grew. After Miss Brooke 
and Mr. Drake joined, others, from the Church Mission to the Jews, 
the House of Industry and Inquirers Home, were attracted to the 
American Colony. 

There was Mr. Nathanial Piazza, Mr. Pincus we called him Noah 


and Joseph Vinietsky. Mr. Klinger, a consumptive, who was very 
ill, we took in and nursed. There were Yoffe and Maurice, and the 
Hermaline family with all their children. 

Some Father baptized. Some had quarreled with groups they had 
left and Mother wrote that under these circumstances resolutions 
were taken not to listen or allow gossip or faultfinding against the 
organizations or places they had left. "How often unkind gossip is 
mistaken for valuable criticism/ she wrote. 

There was Jacob Rosenzweig, a Rumanian Jew, who spoke Yid 
dish and was very poor. He was called "Kleine Yacob" because he 
was so diminutive. He was a dapper little person with quaint and 
courtly ways and excessively proud of his stiffly starched shirt and 
bowler hat, remnants of the past affluence, I suppose, in which he 
appeared resplendent on Sundays. 

It was the custom since the Colony group had increased in num 
bers to sing grace before meals. Generally we chanted, 

"God is great and God is good, 
And we thank Him for this food. 
By His hand must all be fed t 
Give us Lord our daily bread." 

But sometimes one or another at the table would call instead for a 
favorite hymn. 

I remember a Sunday when Kleine Yacob appeared at dinner with 
a harried air and took his usual place next to Mrs. Gould. One of 
Mrs. Gould s duties was to distribute the Colony laundry. Just as 
grace was about to be said, Kleine Yacob leaned over and whispered 
to her in his broken English, "Him steal away my shirt," meaning 
his beloved Sunday shirt had not returned with the wash. 

Mrs. Gould misunderstood, and told Mother, "Kleine Yacob is 
asking us to sing the hymn, Steal Away. " 

Mother was rather surprised, although one was seldom surprised 
at anything Kleine Yacob might do, but she closed her eyes and 
started the old Negro spiritual, "Steal Away to Jesus." Around the 
table the choir joined in, their voices clear and rich. The choir was 
noted for its harmony, especially when singing the Negro spirituals. 
Those who did not sing were absorbed in listening to the beautifully 
rendered hymn, all except Kleine Yacob, who was convulsed in 
noiseless laughter. 

Like so many others who came to us, Kleine Yacob remained with 
us until he died many years later. 

When Miss Brooke came to live with us at the American Colony, 
she brought a number of things that helped make our lives more 


interesting, notably books and pictures, for she was a student and 
artist. To us children, conspicuous among the innovations was 

Waterloo was a large black donkey. In those days donkeys were 
the usual means of transport in Jerusalem, and people rode donkey- 
back on their business rounds and even when paying social calls. 

Waterloo was well named; he was a fighter. Being well fed, with 
little work, his donkey stubbornness and assertiveness were well 
developed. Other donkeys, poor little underfed beasts of burden, 
Waterloo passed with his nozzle in the air and braying lustily. 

Mother told me her first experience in the Near East was of awak 
ening to a sound so dreadful that she was positive some monster, at 
least as large as an elephant, was loose in the street. Father showed 
her a tiny gray donkey tethered below the window. 

"You don t mean to say that small animal made all that noise?" 
Mother demanded. 

She had never heard a donkey bray, but she became accustomed to 
the sound as people at home are to the purring of a cat. 

Our Arab nurses told us the story of how the donkey got his bray 
when we were little, solemnly assuring us it was true. When Noah 
was collecting the animals for the ark, Mr. and Mrs. Donkey came 
early, but lingered a few minutes on the green turf for a last nibble 
of grass. They did not notice the gathering clouds nor the first huge 
drops of rain. Then Mr. Donkey looked up to see that the door of 
the ark was closed! 

He was terribly frightened. What if he and his mate were left be 
hind? So he lifted up a loud voice and called, "No-ah! No-ah!" 

The rain beat and the lightning flashed and thunder tore, and sud 
denly Noah opened the door of the ark to them. 

Mr. Donkey was so relieved to see Noah that his shouting subsided 
into "Ah! ah! ah!" and that is how the donkey got his bray, and the 
reason why it is so loud, for he had to raise his voice above the down- 
pouring of the Flood. 

The story is much better told in Arabic, where the cries of Noah 
sound exactly like the donkey s bray. 

We children had glorious times riding Waterloo. He was big and 
strong and could carry several of us at one time. An ingenious con 
trivance of panniers made of two upholstered kerosene boxes was 
slung on either side an Arabic saddle, on which was fastened, throne- 
like, a coffeeshop stool upside down with one rung cut out to make a 
chair. Plump and cheerful John Whiting sat in this, his sister Ruth 
and my sister Grace in the kerosene boxes, and we older children 
walked or ran alongside. Mr. Drake or Captain Sylvester led Water 
loo, who held strong notions as to actual leadership and would nip 


the arm of anyone urging him in a direction he did not care to take, 
so the captain invented a broom-handle lead covered with tin which 
was fastened to Waterloo s bridle, and the frisky donkey could be 
managed at "arm s length." 

We often went donkeyback to Ein Farrah, and in my parents 
letters are many mentions of picnics in this wildly picturesque and 
rocky gorge near Anathoth, the birthplace of Jeremiah. It holds the 
most copious living spring in the vicinity of Jerusalem, flowing even 
through the dry season, therefore many shepherds from Jerusalem 
and the adjacent villages gathered there with their flocks in summer. 
The herds pasturing on the slopes made it a perfect Biblical setting, 
and some authorities consider Ein Farrah the place the Shepherd 
King had in mind in the Twenty-Third Psalm. 

We liked going to Ein Farrah early, to avoid traveling in the sum 
mer heat, and generally arrived by sunrise at a certain plain which 
we children dubbed "The Plain of the Rising Sun," for we loved 
giving names to places. On this plain was a Moslem shrine or "weli," 
and we noticed that aE the donkeys lifted up their voices in a tre 
mendous bray as they faced the first rays of the rising sun, which 
was usually just as we were approaching the weli. Because of the 
Arabic tale of the donkey and his bray, we called the shrine "Noah s 

A few years ago I gave a tea party to a group of Biblical students 
visiting Jerusalem. They were late, and in their apology mentioned 
that they had been taken to see Noah s Tomb. I questioned them, for 
I knew there was no tomb in Palestine that could possibly be at 
tributed to Noah. 

To my amusement I found they had been taken by one of our old 
"donkeyboys," now graduated into a dragoman, or guide, to our 
shrine on our "Plain of the Rising Sun," both named by us when we 
were children. So does fantasy get handed down to become tradition. 

One of our favorite excursions with Waterloo was to the Garden 
of Gethsemane. We children became good friends with the Francis 
can father who was custodian of the Garden. On the slope above, 
where the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene now stands, was open 
ground with numerous olive, mulberry, and charub trees, where we 
often picnicked. All this property belonged to our friend Abu Nassib. 

Later he sold it to the Russians, and we children watched the entire 
process of building the church beside his house, from its foundation 
to its golden domes. We called it "The Church of the Golden 
Domes," because the onion-shaped cupolas were coated with real 
gold leaf, and Abu Nassib s daughter picked up enough tiny specks 
after the workmen left to make herself a ring. 

Abu Nassib was tall and quite dark, with flashing black eyes, and 


he was very kind. Like all Arabs, he was also very hospitable, and 
during one of our first visits to his towerlike house on the slope of 
Olivet he urged us to enter. We found ourselves, when our eyes got 
accustomed to the subdued light after the glaring sun, in a large 
room. We also perceived sick people lying about the room on mat 

Abu Nassib, without the slightest suspicion that anything was 
amiss, informed us cheerfully that his family had smallpox. 

We left with haste, but the mischief was done. Poor little Grace 
had the worst case, and I escaped most lightly of all. 

This was the first of many experiences with Abu Nassib. 

He came to my rescue soon after this. I had gone with Father and 
Mother and some guests from America and Hannieh to watch the 
Nebi Musa (Prophet Moses) procession, which was one of our yearly 
excitements. This feast and procession are to the reputed tomb of 
Moses on the west side of the Jordan, although the Bible tells us he 
never crossed the river. The custom was instituted by the Turks some 
hundred years ago as a political measure to attract Moslem pilgrims 
and offset the large number of Christian pilgrims who gather in the 
Holy City for the Easter festivities, .or it was feared that at such a 
time the Christians might rise and take possession of the Holy 

The shrine of the Prophet Moses, a huge rectangular building of 
about one hundred rooms, is richly endowed, and during the feast 
days the pilgrims are housed and fed in the building. The cenotaph, 
covered with green cloth, is in the mosque on the ground floor. Pil 
grims occupied the rooms surrounding the court and overflowed into 
tents stretching out over the surrounding hills. The shrine is in the 
foothills of the Judean mountains with a magnificent view of the 
Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley. Since the feast at Nebi Musa always 
coincides with Greek Holy Week, the rolling foothills at this time are 
covered with short spring grass and beautiful wild flowers yellow 
and white mustard so tall that "the birds of the air find shelter" in it, 
wild stock scenting the evening breeze, yellow daisies or wild chrys 
anthemums that give the scene a golden aura. The beauty is short 

The celebration always starts with a procession from Jerusalem, 
where the Holy Flag is kept. Days before Hebron, Nablus, and the 
other cities and the surrounding villages send their own flags and 
bands, consisting of drums and cymbals, into the Holy City to take 
part in the procession. Bandsmen and banner bearers gather in the 
compound of the Dome of the Rock or the Mosque of Omar. 

The Husseini family are custodians of the shrine and the hosts at 
Nebi Musa. The Grand Mufti, a member of the Husseini family, al- 


ways rode on horseback in the procession immediately behind the 
Jerusalem Holy Flag made of rich green and black satin embroidered 
in gold. Crowds of spectators milled around, and the road was lined 
with Turkish soldiers to keep a passage open for the procession. 

As the Jerusalem flag reached Saint Stephen s Gate or the east 
gate a salute of cannon thundered and the women in the crowd gave 
the joy cry described by Cousin Rob. Then the procession, led by the 
Turkish band playing Turkish music in a minor key slightly off pitch, 
slowly wound out of the city and past Gethsemane. At the point 
where the Bethany road turns east, a large marquee was pitched, 
where the mayor of Jerusalem received the Mufti and other notables 
in the procession. Coffee was served, and a short prayer offered by 
the Mufti while the guests stood with their hands out, palms upward, 
then wiped their faces to receive the blessing. Another salute of seven 
cannon shots sent the procession on its way to the shrine in the hills. 
Carriages were used from this point, but many who could not afford 
carriages rode on donkeys, horses, mules, and camels. Later, when 
automobiles were introduced, the picturesqueness faded, and halts 
at the tent became a great social event. I was in the marquee during 
World War I when Djemal Pasha received the Mufti, and I have been 
there with each successive British High Commissioner. In 1947, 
because of the unrest and political tension between the Arabs and the 
Jews, the procession of the Nebi Musa did not take place for the first 
time in several hundred years. 

Nor do we now have the many kinds of dervishes who lent so 
much color to the celebration when I was a child. They came to 
Jerusalem especially for the Prophet s feast and procession. Some ate 
live coals, others forced spikes through their cheeks. Snake charmers 
came from Upper Egypt. 

During this particular procession, when I was five or six, I was 
walking along unconscious of fear when I realized I was alone. Father 
and Mother were busy with their guests and Hannieh had stopped to 
chat with some Arab friends. 

It is one thing to watch such a scene from a safe distance and an 
other to be in the midst of it. Suddenly I found myself walking in the 
procession surrounded by one of the village bands. Over me towered 
fierce-looking men carrying banners, and others were pounding on 
large and small drums, while others were making a terrific clashing 
with their cymbals. Amidst these were dervishes twirling round and 
round in religious frenzy, their bushy hair sticking out all over their 
heads, their eyes rolling, and spikes sticking through their cheeks. 

I did not cry for once I was too frightened to cry. I just stood 
petrified, and suddenly, pushing through the hysterical crowd to my 


rescue, came my tall, dark, kindly friend, Abu Nassib. Oh, how glad 
I was to see him. 

As well as the land on Olivet, Abu Nassib owned a plot of ground 
outside Saint Stephen s Gate which he kept planted with tomatoes. 

In those days potatoes were a luxury, they were imported I believe 
from France, and when we could get any they were a great treat. 
Father succeeded in getting some potatoes for seed and prevailed 
upon Abu Nassib to plant half his field with them, leaving the other 
half for the tomatoes. 

Some time later he came to call, and Father asked Abu Nassib 
about his potato crop. 

"Oh! No good! No good!" said Abu Nassib, and emphasized his 
disgust with freely gesticulating arms and hands. "Tomato plant here, 
good. Batata [the Arab pronunciation of potato] plant here, good. 
Tomato grow, batata grow, good. Tomato much fruit, good! Batata 
not one fruit no good!** 

And Abu Nassib struck his hands together in the Arabic gesture of 

Father took a shovel and went with Abu Nassib to the field, where 
he dug the first crop of potatoes ever grown in Jerusalem. Abu Nas 
sib had no idea "fruit" grew underground. After this he was known 
as Abu Batata Father of the Potato. 

Once, excavating for a new cistern in his property on the slope of 
Olivet, Abu Nassib uncovered a pottery cruse filled with silver 
shekels. He was very secretive about his discovery, but he must have 
uncovered other valuable antiquities as well, for after this food was 
more plentiful in the tower house and the family better clad. He built 
a handsome new home in the old city. 

An old Arabic saying describes the perverse nature of Beni Adam 
(son of Adam, meaning man), "when his wealth increases, he com 
mits folly, precipitating his fall." This proved true of Abu Nassib. His 
bonanza left him restless, and although he was married and the father 
of two daughters and two sons, he began looking about for a bride. 
A girl cousin secretly let him know by a professional "go-between" 
that she would not be adverse to a proposal of marriage. 

Abu Nassib confided his secret to Father. 

This was Father s first encounter with the custom of plural mar 
riage. He argued with Abu Nassib, but as Moslems are allowed four 
wives by the Sharia, or religious law, there was not much he could 
say about it. 

One would think that as the Arabs religion allows plural marriage 
and Moslem women are brought up to consider it right, they would 
not mind, but this is not so. The wife lives in fear all her married life 


that this may happen to her, and if it does, it is a real tragedy and 
causes suffering, as it would to any family. 

After Father s talk with Abu Nassib the matter seemed to drop for 
a time. Then came the three days feast at the end of Ramadan, which 
is the month of fasting. 

In those days it was the custom to picnic in the open fields outside 
Herod s Gate, where the American School of Oriental Research now 
stands. No buildings were there then, only levl fields and a few 
sparse olive trees. 

Merry-go-rounds and swings were erected for this celebration, and 
there were peep shows many exhibiting obscene pictures and 
hawkers who made a roaring business selling Damascus sweetmeats 
and Sha r el Banat (maiden s hair), candy shredded so fine it resem 
bled hair, and Lahit el Halkum (Turkish delight), and salted and 
roasted watermelon and pumpkin seeds, and, in season, green and 
roasted chick-peas tied in bunches. There was sus (licorice water) 
and pink lemonade in brightly decorated receptacles, served in shal 
low brass cups the vendors used almost like cymbals in a dexterous 
rhythm to attract customers. Gypsies, notorious fortunetellers, in 
their gay costumes gathered there from neighboring countries. 

The scene resembled an old-time country fair. These quaint cus 
toms with an atmosphere of conviviability have all disappeared. 

The people wore their best clothes and spent lavishly the savings 
stored up for the occasion. Crowds of women were kaleidoscopic in 
their brightly colored izzars, or outer street costumes, and the bright 
parasols they loved added color to the already gay picture. 

Horse racing was the chief attraction. Arabs do not have our idea 
of competitive racing. The gaily-bedecked horses rushed madly around 
the field, while their excited riders dug in their spurs. Some of the 
horses trappings were really beautiful, with silver-mounted bridles 
and gaudy tassels, and some even had ostrich feathers fastened to 
their heads. The wilder the horse and rider became, the more the 
spectators enjoyed the race. There were no cups or prizes, and the 
only award was a handkerchief tied to the horse s bridle. The winner, 
generally the most reckless rider, carried off the greatest number oi 
handkerchiefs. Especially imported cheap but highly colored hand 
kerchiefs or veils were sold in the crowd to award the riders. 

Abu Nassib was racing his mare wildly in the contest when he saw 
the professional go-between among the watchers on the field. A secrel 
signal, which he understood, led him to ride toward a group oJ 
women. He knew the closely veiled charmer who tied her kerchief tc 
his horse s bridle must be his "fair one," and, inflamed with desire 
and excitement, he whirled his steed, dashed madly into the centei 
of the field, and was thrown. 


He was carried to his towerlike house near Gethsemane, and the 
same messenger sent to fetch a doctor also came for Father, who went 
at once to our friend. For three weeks Abu Nassib was nursed back to 
health by the men of the American Colony, and he told Father the 
accident which nearly cost him his life had brought him to his senses, 
and that he gave up his idea of a second marriage. 

For a time Abu Nassib remained aloof although the cousin began 
her overtures again. He and his wife had another child, a much- 
wanted son. Then one day we heard that Abu Nassib had succumbed 
he had married the cousin. We also heard that his little son, now 
almost a year old, died on the evening of his marriage. 

After a long interval we saw Abu Nassib again. He was a sad man. 
"Abu Nassib naughty boy," he said, and seemed to mean it. His 
two families lived separately the new wife in the home he had built 
inside the city and at odds with each other, and serious troubles had 
come to both. The second wife had lost her first baby and was to 
have another, and wanted to make her peace with the American 
Colony. All Father s warnings about a disunited household had 
come true and, being superstitious, she was convinced she was under 
a spell or curse. She was assured of our blessing and friendship, and 
Mother and Mrs. Gould nursed her when her second baby arrived, a 
beautiful boy. 

He grew to be a fine man, and only a short time ago called on me, 
with his wife and children, and recalled this story. I was surprised 
at how much he had been told. He concluded by saying, "So you see 
I am an American, for I was their {the Colony s] son and I have their 
blessing on my head." He had made peace between the two families 
and brought about the first happiness they had known in many years. 

We all cared a lot for Abu Nassib. He lived to be an old man, 
handsome still. I remember him best at our table, when he drank 
with a great noise and ate with loud smackings, which is Arab 
courtesy, to show how much you ehjoy your host s food. "You mustn t 
eat like Abu Nassib," I warned my children, and once Anna Grace, 
in her high chair at the table, watched, fascinated, as he drank his 
coffee, and piped, "See, he s drinking like Abu Nassib!" 

He recognized his name and became quite excited. "You must tell 
me what she said. Wallah! you must tell me." 

I steered through a touchy situation. "Anna Grace said, Tm drink 
ing coffee like Abu Nassib. " 

Abu Nassib took it as a great compliment. 

During the bombing in 1948, Abu Nassib s great-grandson s widow 
made her way through the blitz to ask me for aid. His children and 
grandchildren still live in the towerlike house above the Garden of 


WHEN the teaching and nursing of the Group won a reputation, 
it became apparent that the American Colony was being regarded as 
a nuisance by certain staid and static missionaries working in 

It is a fact and perhaps unknown to Father and the others of the 
Group that in the 1870s a controversy had arisen in Jerusalem 
between the American and English missionary societies. An under 
standing had developed of dividing the spheres of influence. Syria was 
to be the American sphere and Palestine that of the British, a deci 
sion, alas, that carried the American University to Beirut. 

While our Group knew nothing of this agreement, I doubt if it 
would have made any difference in the choice of domicile. 

As far as my parents were concerned, our residence in Jerusalem 
was still temporary. They were more concerned with what the country 
was doing for their souls than what they were doing for the people of 
the country. It was only as the work grew, because of the need for it, 
that the Colony took on a more permanent aspect. 

The local people first called us the Americans, later they added the 
American Colony. We had not taken that name. We were as yet unique 
in our approach to the people and perhaps on that account we 
were misunderstood in certain circles. The very success of the venture 
was in part the cause of misunderstanding. 

Our Group, as devout Christians, felt there was nothing higher 
under heaven to teach than the Christian ethics and way of life, but 
did not believe in coercion, or, as sometimes happened, turning a 
good Jew into a bad Christian. 

Some of the missionaries regarded this new work with the narrow 
regard of the conformists for the non-conforming. 

One article in a mission publication made these charges against 
the American Colony: "One of their beliefs is that none of them will 
die before the Lord s coming." . . . "Nobody seems to know what 
tfaefr religious beliefs are, for their members never reveal them." 
"They do not believe in missions and so they never make any 
missionary efforts among the Jews and Moslems." 


By this time the hysterical attacks by members of the Lake View 
group had arrived in Jerusalem. The garbled facts were seized upon 
and enlarged, and everything we did was distorted by the missionaries 
who resented the American Colony. 

These were trivial clouds on our horizon, but they were to grow. 

Among the most virulent of the attackers was one of the heads of 
the English Mission, who resented Miss Brooke s leaving it to join 
our group, and spread the report that the American Colony had 
exerted undue influence to cause her to do so. Father s notebook 
contains an account of a visit he and Miss Brooke paid this man, in 
which they tried to explain the Colony s position and its work "so that 
he, a school head and minister of the gospel, could no longer make 
such charges through ignorance." 

"But he declared," Father wrote, "he would say this house was a 
house of devils as long as he had breath and strength." 

Not all Jerusalem s missionaries resented the American Colony. We 
had many friends among other groups, and mission leaders from every 
part of the world were to visit the American Colony and study our 
work as it grew. Among Father s and Mother s papers are hundreds 
of letters from ministers and missionaries bearing friendly testimony 
and appreciation for work quietly done. Some, after their visits, sent 
back gifts of money to further the work of the American Colony and 
others sent their appreciative acknowledgment and prayers. 

I am not running down mission work. I know how much good 
missionaries can do and have done in many countries, and I do not 
underestimate the heroic sacrifices of many, I only state that in 
Jerusalem, at the time about which I am writing, some of the mission 
ary workers used formalized and antiquated methods and resented any 

Their unfriendly attitude toward us embittered my early years with 
a feeling that we were different, marked and strange. That is an un 
pleasant experience for a child. One of our games, I remember, 
was to dress up and call ourselves missionaries, and, looking down our 
noses at the smaller children we made represent the American Colony, 
we would say: "Oh, those are the crazy Americans!" 

From notes and letters I get the impression that the Colony turned 
neither to right nor left on account of the misrepresentations, persecu 
tions, or whatever one chooses to call them. 

Sometimes it seemed to me, in my younger days, that a complete 
circle of opposition had surrounded us, starting with the Lake View 
group as originators, followed by the antagonistic missionaries, and 
completed by the Mr. Selah Merrill whose resentment of Father and 
the American Colony tormented us for eighteen years. 


What faith did the American colonists hold to make them the 
victims of a religious persecution that would last nearly two decades? 
I find it best expressed in a letter Mother wrote to Father in January 
1884. She was worn out by much nursing, and had gone with Rob 
for a few days of rest with the Floyd family, in Jaffa. She writes 
first of a visit to a mission hospital where all around lay sick and 
wounded and dying men, women, and children, some in bloody rags, 
others shaking with fever, while over them a nurse stood, in im 
maculate white uniform, and in classical Arabic read the Bible. 

Mother wrote: 

An hour of it the price the patients had to pay for receiving medical 
attention. In a corner a sheik lay in dirty rags stuck fast with dried blood, 
with many severe wounds from a village fight; his leg seemed fractured. 
... All around sick people were waiting for the scripture to end. 

Christ would have relieved the suffering with gentle fingers and ten 
der words and allowed the spirit to do the preaching. 

The long Bible reading, she said, was in the Arabic of educated 
people, far above these simple people s understanding, and after it 
came prayers, and then a hymn. . . . 

One evening in Jaffa a group met in the Floyds living room. They 
represented several faiths, including Episcopalian, Methodist, and 
Friend. Mother joined in the conversation, and she wrote Father: 

I spoke concerning our faith and belief that someday God would unite 
the whole Christian world. I cannot describe to you the strange feeling 
that I had. Here we were, all professing Christians and yet separated and 
divided as far as possible. It was so evident that each one was worshiping 
God from behind the little fence that he had made to enclose himself. 
, . . How I would like to see all these man-made "walls of partition" 
broken down. I asked if they could explain to me these separations be 
tween Christians, each claiming that the Holy Spirit has taught them, 
but they could not attempt an answer. Someday the Episcopalians and 
Methodists, and even the man from Ramallah and Plymouth Brethren, 
will all join in a great world power for unity. We must press forward and 
pray that such a power will unite all Christians. 

In the notes and letters written during these early years there are 
many allusions to nursing English and European patients as well as 
Jews and Arabs. There were no trained nurses in Jerusalem, and 
Mother, Mrs. Gould, and Mrs. Whiting were considered the best to be 
had and were in great demand. There ^ure numerous mentions of nurs 
ing different members of the Bergheim family. 

The Bergheim family was a rich English-Hebrew-Christian f amily 
who conducted a private bank in Jerusalem, and were kind and gener 
ous to us. 


We made no specific charge for teaching and nursing. People paid 
what they could, and this might be little or nothing. Most of our 
patients were poor. Sometimes they paid us in food, so that often 
we would be surfeited with one kind of food while lacking in others. 
The Bergheims were among the few who gave more, but then they had 
more to give. Their splendid residence was surrounded by a large 
quantity of land, and among their large properties they owned the 
historical village of Gezer, called in Arabic Abu Shuche. 

In revenge for wrongs, imaginary or real, one of the Bergheim 
sons was murdered by the fellaheen (peasants) while riding in his 
carriage near Gezer. The motive was not robbery, for his money, 
watch, and other valuables were found untouched on the body. His 
English wife was pregnant and the shock endangered her life and the 
unborn babe s. Mother and Mrs. Gould nursed her through trying 
weeks, and both mother and child survived. 

When the Bergheim bank failed, the Bergheim holdings passed into 
other hands. Why the Marquis of Bute had invested money in Berg- 
heim s bank I cannot tell, but after the bank failed he was given the 
Bergheim residence in lieu of part of his money. Under the British 
Mandate the house was enlarged to become Government Hospital 
including the British section. 

The vacant property facing the Bergheim residence was given to the 
Jerusalem municipality to be made into a much-needed park. From 
one part of this gift a large modern building was erected. The 
southern half was Barclay s Bank (D. C. and O.) and the northern 
half was municipal offices. 

On May 15, 1948, when the British Mandate ended, it was taken 
over by Israel. 

Gezer continued to hold its place in history. The site was first 
identified by Dr. Clermont-Ganneau, who had excavated the so- 
called Tomb of the Kings and detected the forgery of the Temanite 

Extensive excavations have been carried on at Gezer by the 
Palestine Exploration Fund under the able supervision of Professor 
R. A. S. Maclister, LL.D., Litt D. F.S.A. Remains that were found 
covered all periods from the Neolithic to the time of the Maccabees. 
There was much evidence of Egyptian influence. 

In I Kings 9 : 16 we find that Pharaoh, King of Egypt, went up and 
took Gezer and burned it, killing its inhabitants, and then gave it as a 
present to his daughter when she became Solomon s wife. 

In 1924, Palestine s first High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, 
cut the first sod at Gezer in land which had been acquired for an 
English- Jewish settlement. 

One of the Bergheim sisters married the German Consul, who was 


the son of Dr. Von Tischendorf who discovered the famous Sinai 
manuscript and in whose home I spent many pleasant afternoons as a 
small girl. Frau Von Tischendorf was anxious to improve her paint 
ing, and our Miss Brooke was an art teacher, so we started a painting 
club. We met each week at the different houses of the members. 

Miss Brooke must have been teaching me to enlarge, for she 
allowed me to copy on a large scale a small picture of Axel Strasse in 
Geneva, in the William Tell country, and I presented this atrocious 
painting to Father s friend, Hadj Racheed Nashashebie. 

Many, many years later my husband and I were invited to an Arabic 
luncheon in a palatial house in Wady Ehnain on the Plain of Esdralon 
near Rehoveth. As we sat in the drawing room I whispered to my 
husband, "I believe that painting over there is mine!" 

I went over to investigate, and sure enough, there was my maiden 
name, Bertha Spafford. My host, seeing my interest, followed me. 

"I see you are admiring that painting, Mrs. Vester," he said. "I also 
admire it very much. I got it as a present from my good friend Hadj 
Racheed Nashashebie. It is the work of a famous artist." 

What could I say? 

As the demand for such services as the Group could render in 
creased, with it increased the personal animosity of Mr. Merrill. It 
seemed a waste of time to deny his ridiculous accusations, but they 
were refuted eventually, and in an astonishing way. 

His campaign of antagonism began when the American Colony 
gave shelter and support to the Bentons, a family of the type we 
came to classify as "Simples in the Garden of Allah." 


JERUSALEM attracts all kinds of people. Religious fanatics and 
cranks of different degrees of mental derangement seemed drawn as 
by a magnet to the Holy City. Some of those who particularly came 
into our lives were men and women who thought themselves the 
reincarnations of saints, prophets, priests, messiahs, and kings. 

Among the first Americans we met in Jerusalem was a family I 
shall call Benton. Old Mr. Benton thought he had invented perpetual 
motion. Why he came to Jerusalem on that account is hard to tell, 
except that people less cranky than he believe Jerusalem to be the 
center of the universe and he may have thought his discovery would 
get a better start from this point. He was sure his theory was plausible, 
yet it was quite evident Mr. Benton was not right in his mind. 

He bought a small bit of property in the open fields beyond the city 
limits, near the spot where Jerusalem many years later, in 1917, was 
surrendered to the British, and built a small house consisting, I 
believe, of two rooms, one upstairs and one downstairs. In it he 
lived isolated and alone. In those days it was considered dangerous to 
live so far outside the city limits, but because Mr. Benton was notice 
ably simple even the peasants of the village of Lifta, the notorious 
thieves of that time, would not molest him. The Arabic conviction that 
"God has touched his head" established Mr. Benton as a "holy man" 
or dervish, and assured him safety. 

He had been occupying his lonely abode for some time when his 
wife and son Frank arrived. They had hunted for him everywhere 
and at last traced him to Jerusalem. They bought a small bit of 
property adjoining his, put up a slightly larger replica of his house, and 
moved in. Their intention was to look after Mr. Benton, but he 
thought differently. Soon after his wife and son settled in their small 
house Mr. Benton vanished, and as far as I know was never heard 
from again. 

Mother and son were taken ill with malaria, the so-called Assyrian 
fever, and Mother and Mrs. Gould, Rob and Mr. Rudy took turns 
nursing Frank, two by two, for he was dangerous in delirium. 

Mother wrote to Aunt Rachel while sitting up during the long 


night vigil beside young Frank Benton as he raved with fever, on the 
verge of death, while an Arab sang outside in the dark field: 

"He has been singing for an hour, I should think, on two notes. 
To me it is a most distressing sound and they call it music." 

The mother and son got well. Later, very early one morning, Mrs. 
Benton arrived at our home in a state of collapse. A number of men 
armed with knives had burst the door open at night and fought 
with Frank while she hid in the upstairs room. They gashed her son s 
throat several times and left him apparently dead while they ran 
sacked the house. 

Father and Rob took a doctor who sewed up Frank s cuts, which 
had missed the jugular vein. He was taken to a hospital until he 
was strong enough to be brought to our home. Mrs. Benton stayed 
with us. 

Father asked Mr. Merrill to request the Turkish governor for a 
guard to be stationed at the empty Benton house to prevent the furni 
ture, doors, and windows from being stolen while Frank and his 
mother were being nursed back to health at the American Colony. 

Mr. Merrill had little if any knowledge of law. Because Father was 
an attorney, people in need of advice naturally came to him. Mr. Mer 
rill would have found a willing assistant in Father had he wanted one, 
instead, he seemed jealous and resentful of the fact that Father was 
giving legal advice. Wanting, perhaps, to put Father "in his place," 
Mr. Merrill refused what was the legitimate and obvious thing to do 
under the circumstances. 

"Go and watch the house yourself if you like," he answered. 

Father answered that it was not his place to stand guard and 
that the Turkish governor would be glad to grant such a request. 
The Consul stubbornly refused to ask for a guard. 

Father did not want the poor Bentons to lose the little they had 
left. There was nothing he could do but ask Raouf Pasha to protect 
their property. The governor promptly set a guard over the Benton 

Mr. Merrill was very angry and accused Father of meddling. 

As far as I know, this was the first open clash between Father and 
the American Consul. 

In 1885 an excitable, moody lad by the name of Joseph Vinetsky 
came to the Colony with a sad story. He had been brought to the 
London Jews Society Boys School by a stepmother when he was 
about four years old, and that was the last seen of her. Since then he 
had drifted. The Colony took him in and cared for him for several 
years. Joseph was a big-hearted, demonstrative lad who was a sore 
trial to everyone. Father placed him as a day scholar in the Alliance 


Israelite School for Boys, where Father taught English. It was an 
industrial school, and Joseph chose to learn blacksmithing. He would 
return home in the evening with black hands and face and before 
cleaning up would give an affectionate greeting to Mother and Mrs, 
Gould, who were his favorites, ruining their spotless white dresses or 
blouses. We children were terrified by his fierce temper. When any 
thing crossed him Joseph would say warningly, "Look out, I have the 
beast," and we would scatter for safety. 

Joseph was eager to be a sailor, and when the United States flagship 
Pensacola came to Jaffa and the chaplain visited the American Colony, 
Father took Joseph to Jaffa and delivered him to the chaplain. 

In 1908 we heard from Joseph again. A letter signed Joseph 
Spafford came to the American Consul in Jerusalem inquiring about 
Mother and the Colony, and enclosing fifty dollars for Mother. 
Mother said she knew no one by that name and refused to accept the 
money until she discovered who had sent it and for what purpose. 

Back came a fifteen-page letter giving Joseph s history from the 
day he left us. He apologized for assuming our name without per 

"I took it from the time I came to the States," he wrote, "and I 
have kept it good and true. . . ." 

He asked for everyone, remembering something about each of us, 
and of Father: "I remember how gentle he was with me. I often think 
of the time he took me to Jaffa, and I can hear him now as he said to 
the chaplain, take care of my Joseph. " 

He had retained his faith in the Christian religion and reminded 
Mother that he was born of Jewish parentage. He wrote: "From you 
I learned a great deal. All the goodness I have in me I can thank your 
household for." 

In 1922, when my husband and I with our three children returned 
to the United States, we got in touch with Joseph. He was the same 
Joseph I remembered, warm-hearted and generous, and just as touchyj 
in temper. He visited us often in our home in Lynn, Massachusetts,! 
and was the same trial to our children as he had been to us. 

In the American Colony we still say in cross-tempered moments: 
"Look out! I ve got the beast!" 

Elijah, as he called himself, was a naturalized American and con 
verted Jew. His education was scanty enough to make him certain he 
knew all there was to know, and he brought his family to Jerusalem 
evidently expecting to be the only Americans in the Holy City and per 
haps in the Holy Land. He thought of himself as unique. He was not 
pleased to find an American colony in Jerusalem, and was even more 
disappointed when he learned one of our members was of Jewish 


origin. He had very little money and failed to find employment- 
Mother learned the family was suffering and invited Elijah to come 
to our house with his wife and four-year-old son until he could find 

Elijah did not come down to meals for two days. On the third day 
he was so weak he had to keep to his bed. Mother, thinking he was 
ill, went to his room to inquire. 

"I m all right," he insisted, then began to question Mother as to what 
she thought about Christ s second coming. 

Mother told him she was certainly looking for it, but instead of 
setting dates she thought the important thing was to get ready. Then 
he asked what she thought about the Elijah "who must come first 
and prepare the way of the Lord." 

From his talk Mother suspected that he was convinced he was the 
prophet. She answered that she did not believe any one person was 
the Elijah, that it was a principle or dispensation in which to get 

He became terribly excited. "You ve got to take that back! 5 * he 
shouted over and over. 

Mother understood and pitied his poor, unbalanced mind. By this 
time we knew several like him, who thought they were John the 
Baptist or Elijah, or another of the prophets. There were several 
Messiahs, too, wandering about Jerusalem. She saw how physically 
weak the man was, so she prevailed on him to take a little milk. 

He rose early next morning and left the house, and, as we learned 
later, went to the top of the Mount of Olives. He had fasted three 
days and expected the hill to "cleave in two" before him. I m afraid 
he had his prophecies slightly mixed, but as no two people agree on 
them, that part was not important. He had been so positive, that when 
the prophecy was not fulfilled, his disappointment was terrific. 

The poor man could believe only that his failure was owing to 
breaking his three-day fast, and that Mother was the evil spirit who 
had tempted him. 

He came back from his unsuccessful pilgrimage in an excited state, 
shouting, gesticulating, and condemning everyone in the Colony, 
especially Mother, to outer darkness. We did not have to ask him to 
leave, he had already arranged for that. It was Sunday, and during 
our afternoon service the Arab porters came to remove Elijah s 
trunks and other belongings. Since Arab porters can do nothing, 
however small, without making a great deal of noise, there was con 
siderable disturbance. 

We knew Elijah intended to disturb the meeting, so we took no 
notice of him or of the noise. 


We were sorry for his wife and little boy, who were the victims 
of a maniac. Later we heard they were living in a pitiable state of 
poverty in a small room in a Jafia Road tenement, that he had no 
work, and they were really starving. After that we carried provisions 
to them every day. I remember going to the tenement house with 
Father, and how frightened I was for fear we would meet Elijah, but 
we never did. We always found the empty basket of the day before 
outside the door with a scrap of paper in it, with a note from the 
man s wife, "Thank you, * or "God bless you." 

From Father s notes, on September 21, 1883, the Group was leav 
ing the dining room and passing into the open court when they caught 
sight of a man who had crossed the court and darted up the stairs. 
Elijah stood above us on the balcony, his face flushed and wild and his 
hand raised, holding a large stone. For once I was scared. I rushed 
into Mother s room and crawled under the bed and stayed there. 
Father was beside Mother, and he was the first to realize Elijah was 
dangerous. He made a rush for the steps, and Elijah, seeing him com- 
ing, aimed the stone at Father s head. Mr. Drake threw himself on 
Father as a shield, and Elijah, seeing he could not hit Father, 
screamed: "I ll kill that Jew, anyway." 

"That Jew" was my foster brother Jacob, who had stepped beside 
Mother to protect her. Elijah hurled the stone but instead of hitting 
Jacob it grazed Elias, hurting him slightly, and by this time Father 
and Mr. Drake were at the top of the stairs and had him pinioned. 
He smelled strongly of arak the strong native liquor and was shak 
ing violently. He struggled to reach his penknife, evidently to cut his 
throat, so Mr. Drake tied his hands behind him with his handkerchief. 

Food and strong coffee gave Elijah a different frame of mind and 
rendered him quite harmless. 

Then he confessed that he thought he was "the Elijah" and had 
expected great things to happen when he got to Jerusalem. His first 
disappointment was finding other Americans already in Jerusalem, 
then one disillusionment had followed another. 

We brought his wife and son from the old tenement and cared for 
them all at the American Colony until a collection was taken up and 
they were sent back to the United States. 

One of our first callers when we visited Chicago twelve years 
later was Elijah. I got a shock when his name was given, but Mother 
welcomed him cordially. He invited us to his home on the outskirts of 
North West Chicago, bordering on the prairies, where he and his wife 
were raising poultry. 

Their four-year-old son had grown to be a splendid young man, and 
there were other sons, all wage earners. They seemed to be in com- 


fortable circumstances. His wife was very pleased to see Mother and 
pressed her to her heart and kissed her warmly, and I remember we 
had stuffed turkey and cranberry sauce for midday dinner. 

Elijah came to Jerusalem again. This time he was selling vacuum 
cleaners, a type that was pumped by hand. He sold only one, to our 
family, and so it happened that a second time we had to help pay 
Elijah s passage back to the United States, for he had settled down 
on the American Colony with every apparent intention of remaining 
with us for the rest of his life. 

Miss Poole, a dear, queer little English gentlewoman, lived in one 
large room in a big tenement house near the Russian Compound. 
Flora, the eldest of the Colony children, went to Miss Poole for 
English lessons, and came home with such wonderful stories of her 
remarkable room that I was crazy to see its wonders for myself. 

Miss Poole had lived many years in Jerusalem and in that room, 
and accumulated so many objects that one could hardly move about 
in it. She could not bear to throw anything away. "Waste not, want 
not," she would say, and her red-apple cheeks would shake with a 
winning laugh. However, when she wanted anything she could never 
find it and still the accumulation grew. When General Gordon was 
in Palestine he called on Miss Poole several times. The matches he 
used in lighting his cigarettes were never thrown away, but treasured 
in a box and shown to visitors. 

Miss Poole was even more remarkable than her room. She was like 
a character in a Victorian novel. She still wore hoopskirts and lace 
caps, under which her tiny curls bobbed up and down in the most 
charming manner. 

She was an astronomer and an astrologer. She studied the skies and 
read your horoscope if you would let her. She was highly educated, 
and Father enjoyed her conversation, but there were drawbacks, for 
she never stopped talking. When Miss Poole came to call no one knew 
how long she would stay, but she always got a welcome at the Ameri 
can Colony. She would arrive with the condescension of a queen. Very 
soon after her arrival she would explain that she must go home 
shortly, as she had some important writing to do. Teatime would come 
and go. Dinner would be served. Miss Poole would still be with us. 
Then, of course, it was too late for her to go home, so she must stay 
the n^ght 

These apologies would be repeated before each meal for several 
days. What made her finally leave we never knew, but she did not 
become a burden, for everyone went about their affairs as though she 
was not present. 

With all Miss Poole s eccentricities, she graced any drawing room. 


Her conversations were amusing and often interesting. She was kind 
and generous, and gave away what she needed herself. She visited the 
poor in the worst parts of the old city, and I am sure she never went 

By a strange coincidence a meteor dropped one night. It tore down 
out of the skies like a bomb and lodged before the door of Miss Poole, 
the astrologer and astronomer of Jerusalem! Poor Miss Poole could 
not leave her room, for the large stone was wedged against her door. 
She called through the window to her neighbors and made them under 
stand they must get help from the American Colony. 

Mr. Drake went to Miss Poole s rescue. It took several strong 
porters to shove the meteor away and set her free. 

As we were finishing family prayers one morning there was a loud 
summons at the front door, and when it was opened ten Germans 
entered with an air of rightful assurance. The leader was a stocky, 
dark man and by contrast his fragile wife looked downtrodden and 
dispirited. There were three old women, looking more like witches 
than humans. A young couple with three children seemed to be the 
only normal members of this strange group. 

They stalked into the living room without invitation and seated 
themselves without being asked. 

Father questioned them through Miss Brooke, who knew German* 

The leader s answer was in the form of a proclamation. He had 
a spiritualistic mission in Jerusalem, he announced, and had been 
led by the Spirit from Germany to Palestine, to Jerusalem, and to this 
house, to take possession. 

How soon could we vacate? he wanted to know, 

He added that we would be allowed to stay if we joined him in his 

It was quite in vain that Father tried to convince him we had no 
intention of leaving our home or aiding his mission. Hours went by, 
and the Germans were still "in possession." During the long-drawn- 
out discussion food was brought, and they devoured it ravenously. 
Father realized that a higher authority would have to intervene. He 
went to the German Consul, who sent his kavass, who persuaded the 
strange company that they must go. 

The leader marched out neither crestfallen nor dejected. Our 
residence, he said in parting, was his by right of supernatural revela 
tion and would soon be his. We felt very sorry for the old women and 
children. They had seemed so hungry, and almost as if hypnotized 
with fear of their leader. 

Not long after they left the young man came back, bringing his 
family. They had at last seen through the leader. He went into 


trances, they said, in which he had promised them great riches 
spiritual and material, but his "revelations" were chiefly about his 
own greatness. They begged our protection. 

We rented a flat for them near the Damascus Gate, and until they 
could manage for themselves allowed them to have their meals at 
the American Colony. The young man was a tailor by trade and our 
Mr. Rudy got employment for him as assistant to Mr. Eppinger, a 
German merchant tailor in Jerusalem. It was not long before they 
were on their feet again. 

The rest of the group were still dominated by their leader. He was 
enraged by our refusal to vacate our home, so he took up his abode 
below us, under the city wall in Solomon s Quarries, to wait until 
the spirits moved us out. The immense cavernlike quarries under the 
old city, from which Solomon is supposed to have hewn the soft white 
limestone out of which he built the temple, were dark, damp, and un 

We were astonished when an Arab reported that "some Euro 
peans" were living in Solomon s Quarries. After investigating and 
finding the rumor true, Father notified the German Consulate. The 
spiritualists were brought out and given medical care, but the women 
had endured hardships too difficult to imagine, and the leader s wife 
and two of the old women died in the German hospital. The mad 
leader was sent back to Germany by his government. 

In 1886 a man asked if he could get board and lodging at the 
American Colony. He had a name, but he called himself "Titus." He 
was a tall, heavy-set German-American from Texas, with small, pierc 
ing dark eyes, black hair and beard, and a rather uncouth appearance. 

After some discussion Titus was taken in as a paying guest. 

Like so many others, Titus was in Jerusalem in answer to what he 
considered a special call from God. He interpreted a remarkable 
dream he had had in Texas to mean that he was destined to be a 
conqueror and ruler of men. He felt convinced that he was signally 
chosen by God for this unusual destiny, which was to be carried out 
in Jerusalem. 

At first he seemed harmless. He was illiterate, and at his request 
Father taught htm to read and write. He attended family prayers 
and came to the meetings for Bible study. He seemed to have money, 
and once he offered to pay in advance for his board and we accepted, 
for this was after we had spent considerable sums on the Gadites, or 
Yemenite Jews, and were in need of money. 

After making this advance, Titus began behaving strangely. He 
was away from home for long periods, and returned smelling of 
liquor. Mother went on a visit to the Friends Mission in Ramallah 


and wrote back that the head of the mission there had warned her 
against Titus, as he was considered to be a dangerous character. 

Not long after this Titus began making unseemly advances, first 
to our maids, then to the ladies of the group. Father asked him to 
leave. Titus refused, saying that if we insisted he would bring the 
"American Consul down on us!" The Colony was in a predicament, 
for we did not have enough money to pay back what Titus had 
advanced for his board. 

Finally, when his behavior had deteriorated below the confines 
of decent hospitality, we persuaded him to move into a room in the 
detached "down-to-the-other house." Here we promised to keep 
Titus housed and fed, with the understanding that he was never to 
come near the main building for a period of time that would more 
than compensate for his advance payment, including interest. 

Titus was drinking heavily now of the powerful local arak and 
looking crazier than ever. When in his room he spent his time writing 
reams of interpretations of his dreams. He did a great deal of shout 
ing and muttering, and when we passed the window, he was often 
there looking out, as though watching for us, and he would shake his 
great fist in a terrifying way. 

The neighbors began to complain that his shouting and pacing 
his room all night kept them awake. Once he developed delirium 
tremens and screamed of goblins and devils in his room; that cats 
were sitting on his chest and choking him. The men of the Colony 
had to go down and quiet him. 

No matter how much disturbance Titus might make, he did not 
approve of noise made by others. I remember an incident during the 
Mohammedan fast of Ramadan. As we lived in a Moslem quarter, 
we heard the man come round every night to wake the "faithful" 
for their last meal before dawn, when the fast began. He carried a 
small drum and pounded it to the chant, "Let the faithful arise and 
take refreshment. Your prophet is passing and will bless you." 

Titus shouted down to the man to keep quiet. 

Of course the summoner went right on calling the faithful, so 
Titus came out on his balcony cursing, and emptied onto the poor 
fellow s head the contents of the receptacle he kept under the bed. 

What excitement followed! What recriminations and explanations! 
I shall never forget Father, summoned from his bed in the middle 
of the night, tall and majestic in the Turkey-red dressing gown 
Mother had made him out of a blanket, and surrounded by a great 
crowd of the neighbors who had risen for the last meal. Father and 
Mother met such crises with calm, but Father knew no Arabic, and 
it was difficult to explain that the man living on our premises did not 
belong to us and that we were not responsible for his actions. 


Maarouf was there, and EUas, and they translated and explained, 
and once the Arabs understood they forgave all. Ill feeling vanished 
the instant they realized Titus was simple. 

"Allah has touched him," they said, as they do in such cases, only 
they simply say, "Touched," and pat their heads. Many of the 
dervishes were "touched." 

It was a day of rejoicing for the American Colony when the debt 
to Titus was finally paid. For years we used to see him roaming 
about Jerusalem, living where or how we did not know, but looking 
wilder and more unkempt as time went on. 

Then there was the "Prophet Daniel," so called, who had been 
"summoned" from the United States to the Holy Land, where he 
believed his identity would be publicly proclaimed by supernatural 
means. We first learned of him when word came that an American 
couple and their five children were lying ill in the Jewish quarter of 
Jerusalem. The Prophet and his family had been stricken with small 
pox and the baby had died. A kind missionary lady had bravely 
gone to nurse them, but she was worn out with tending them all, as 
well as doing all the cooking and housework. 

Two of our Group volunteered, and went into a month of trying 
exile. During their quarantine all the food for both invalids and 
nurses was sent from the American Colony. When our nurses left, 
the house was clean and the patients well. 

Gratitude is not always returned for unselfish and devoted care, 
One day when on the road the Prophet s wife met one of our ladies 
who had nursed her family back to health she turned her head away. 
We did not share, she had learned, some of the pet theological be 
liefs of her husband, the living reincarnation of the great prophet 
saved from the lions den. 

Mother heard that another American, "looking like one of the 
prophets, with a flowing white beard," was ill in the home of an 
Arab in the poorest quarter of the city. She found him and brought 
foJTT) home. His malady proved to be smallpox. 

In those days smallpox was thought to be one of the illnesses 
that children must go through, and instead of shunning an infected 
house some mothers took their children there to "get it over." The 
nature of the old man s sickness made no difference to the American 
Colony, except that proper precautions were taken so it would not 

The old man was Mr. George A. Fuller from Lynn, Massachu 
setts, U.S.A., which information he gave to everyone, never omit 
ting the U.S.A., which he pronounced with emphasis on each letter. 


He was a carpenter by trade, and had read glowing articles in the 
Age to Come Herald that led him impulsively to pack his tools and 
sell all his possessions, which brought him just enough money to 
take him to Jerusalem. 

He drifted about the city with his carpentry tools, doing odd jobs. 
Because of his advanced age and ignorance of Arabic, he could 
barely earn enough to keep body and soul together. 

He was nursed back to health and his devotion was touching. He 
lived with us for the rest of his life. He made himself useful in the 
carpenter shop, and we loved dear old "Brother George A." 

He studied his Bible assiduously and was troubled by the many 
sins he might commit without being aware of sinfulness. Before he 
knew Father, he would lie awake at night begging God to forgive 
him. His sins seemed all in his own imagination, for I never knew 
a more simple and guileless individual. Father s theory of God s 
complete forgiveness was a comfort to Brother George A., and he 
became a different man, cheerful and contented. 

We children haunted his carpenter shop and liked to handle his 
tools. He taught us to use them correctly, and this knowledge has 
stood me in good stead all my life. We must have bothered the dear 
old man, but he never grew impatient. Our questions never ceased: 
"Brother George A., what axe you making? How is this done? Are 
you going to do this? What is that? Why?" 

One time he had enough of this, so taking us gently by our hands 
he led us to the door. As it closed behind us I heard him say, "My 
dears, it is a fact: I know it is true now that children and fools 
should never see unfinished work." 

Another day, when one of the smaU boys was put to work sand 
papering the back of a bureau Brother George A. was making, the 
boy asked why he had to clean the back of the bureau, since it would 
never be seen. Brother George A. answered, "Your behind is never 
seen and yet you keep it clean" a lesson the small boy never forgot. 

Brother George A. mended old furniture and made new. His work 
was neat but graceless. Mother was given a large plush photograph 
album Brother George A. considered beautiful, so he made a box 
of common pine shellacked a bright yellow with black trimmings 
to hold it. It took up half the center table and was a dreadful eye 
sore to Mother. We children nicknamed it "The Coffin." 

One day the milkman arrived with a large bill. We were hard up 
for funds, and as Mother stood wondering how to pay, he pointed 
to the box and offered a substantial reduction of the bill for it. His 
offer was gratefully accepted. 

Brother George A. saw the milkman leave the house with "The 


Coffin" under his arm. We heard him groan. "My conscience, there 
goes the box!" But he never mentioned it to Mother. 

There was an old American couple living in Jerusalem named 
Black. Mr. Black thought he had discovered the North Pole. He 
would talk endlessly, if one had time to listen, about his imaginary 
experiences in the land of the Midnight Sun. 

They had some money which they deposited wisely, as they 
thought, in the two private banks in Jerusalem, not to have "all their 
eggs in one basket." First Bergheim s banks, then Frutigar s, failed. 
The Blacks were old, simple, and now penniless. Mother and other 
members of the Group visited them regularly and sent provisions, 
but when they both got sick, and their room rent came due, there 
seemed no other way but to make room for them in the American 

After several years Mr. Black died, but Mrs. Black lived on with 
us for many years. In conversation one day she disclosed that her 
first husband was killed in the Civil War. We took the matter to the 
American Consul, and he succeeded in getting her a small pension. 

Her whole outlook changed with her first installment. She felt 
independent, and became critical and hard to please. She accused 
us of stealing some handkerchiefs we had given her on Christmas and 
which she had mislaid. When we denied this, she said she must leave 
us, delivering this declaration like an ultimatum, 

She had gone only a few days when she asked to come back. This 
time, however, the Colony was firm. A group of Mormons lately 
come to Jerusalem as missionaries had taken her in, and it developed 
that the Blacks had been Mormons all along. We were glad and 
relieved to know she had found some of her own people and had 
friends who were willing to look after her. 

The Garners had no special or grandiose ideas about themselves 
but they had drifted from New England, I believe, to Palestine 
among the "simples." I was a child when I first met Mrs. Garner, 
who was housekeeper for a strange Englishwoman who certainly had 
a mental twist. This lady was doing what she considered missionary 
work by showing the natives how to dress. She used great economy 
in her materials, and her skirts were so narrow she could hardly 
walk. I remember imitating her walk, and the other children would 
be convulsed with laughter. Another of her idiosyncrasies was exag 
gerated modesty. She draped the legs of her chairs and tables with 
material so as not to have the legs uncovered. She was so economical 
with her food that Mr. Garner had to leave her, and when she was 
found dead in her room, it was believed she had died of starvation. 


The next we heard of the Garners, they were in Jaffa. We were 
paying Mr. and Mrs. Rolla Floyd one of our annual visits when 
Mrs. Garner, looking very old and exhausted with worry and hard 
work, came to ask the Church Missionary Society Hospital in Jaffa 
if they would take in her husband, who had had a stroke of paralysis. 
The verdict of the Society was that they could not accept a chronic 

Of course Mother put her shoulder under poor Mrs. Garner s 
burden. Mr. and Mrs. Garner were brought to the American Colony 
and Mr. Garner, a large, heavy man and completely helpless, was 
nursed there for five years, until he died. 

He had been a soldier in the Civil War and the Colony tried to get 
a pension for Mrs. Garner, appealing through a friend to Mr. Merrill, 
who in turn appealed to Washington. Nothing came of his attempt, 
and the American Consul wrote to the friend: 

I fully expected to succeed, but at last his claim was rejected on what 
seemed to me a most flimsy excuse. I was thoroughly disgusted and 
ashamed that our government should treat in such a way a faithful sol 
dier who had been in over fifty battles. 

The house where she [Mrs. Garner] is in Jerusalem does not bear a 
very good reputation and she ought to be got away from there. If she 
had a pension and- it were put into her hands the people in that house 
would get it away from her I am almost certain. 

Yours sincerely, 


That Mrs. Garner had contributed nothing to her support made 
no difference to the American Colony and evidently less to Mr. 
Merrill. She lived on with us through many years. The children of 
the Colony serenaded her on the morning of her eightieth birthday. 
One verse had this line: "May you in wisdom grow," and in memory 
I can still hear her protests, for she thought it was an insinuation 
against her mentality. 

I remember one exaggerated case that shocked us all. I have for 
gotten the sect that called the meeting, but a zealous leader preached 
an impassioned sermon on the text in Matthew 5:29, "If thy right 
eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable 
for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy 
whole body should be cast into hell." 

This was taken literally by a young girl in the audience. That 
evening, in her room, she tried to cut off her right hand. She was 
taken to the German Hospital in a mutilated and bleeding condition, 
but the hand was saved. Next morning, when the doctor entered her 


room, he found one of her eyes on the floor, and she was digging out 
the other with her fingers, so that it had to be surgically removed. 

Later, when she was in a sane and sorrowful frame of mind, we 
were asked to give her shelter. We kept her for some time and 
taught her Braille. 

After leaving the American Colony she went to the Syrian Or 
phanage Blind School and found consolation in service. 

During our lives in Jerusalem we witnessed many tragedies caused 
by religious frenzies and fanaticisms, and followed the courses of 
numerous unbalanced cranks. There is a thread of similarity in all 
their stories of the same sad, exaggerated egotism. Something in the 
brain suggests the idea of their uniqueness as chosen by God, or 
reincarnated to fulfill some tremendous purpose. I could continue 
indefinitely, for the simples in Allah s Garden were many, seeming 
to gravitate to the Holy Land to enter our lives for long or short 
periods of time, sometimes with direful consequences. The few I 
have told about are typical. 


THE Gadites entered our lives a few months after our arrival 
in Jerusalem, and until civil war divided Jerusalem into Arab and 
Jewish zones, with no intercourse between except bullets and bombs, 
they continued to get help from the American Colony. 

One afternoon in May 1882 several of the Group, including my 
parents, went for a walk, and were attracted by a strange-looking 
company of people camping in the fields. The weather was hot, and 
they had made shelters from the sun out of odds and ends of cloth, 
sacking, and bits of matting. 

Father made inquiries through the help of an interpreter and 
found that they were Yemenite Jews recently arrived from Arabia. 

They told Father about their immigration from Yemen and their 
arrival in Palestine. Suddenly, they said, without warning, a spirit 
seemed to fall on them and they began to speak about returning to 
the land of Israel. They were so convinced that this was the right and 
appointed time to return to Palestine that they sold their property 
and turned other convertible belongings into cash and started for the 
Promised Land. They said about five hundred had left Yena in 
Yemen. Most of them were uneducated in any way except the knowl 
edge of their ancient Hebrew writings, and those, very likely, they 
recited by rote. As appears, they were simple folk, with little knowl 
edge of the ways of the world outside of Yemen, and that is the same 
as saying "the days of Abraham." 

When they landed in Hedida on the coast of the Red Sea, they 
were cautioned by Jews not to continue their trip to Jerusalem and 
that if they did so it would be at peril of their lives. Some of the 
party were discouraged and returned to Yena. Others were mis 
directed and were taken to India, The rest went to Aden, where they 
embarked on a steamer for Jaffa, and came to Jerusalem before the 
Feast of Passover. 

They told about the opposition and unfriendliness they had en 
countered from the Jerusalem Jews, who, they said, accused them 
of not being Jews but Arabs. 

One reason, they said, for their rejection by the Jerusalem Jews 


was because they feared that these poor immigrants would swell the 
number of recipients of halukkah, or prayer money. Early in the 
seventeenth century, as a result of earthquakes, famine, and persecu 
tion, the economic position of the Jews in Palestine became critical, 
and the Jews of Venice came to their aid. They established a fund 
"to support the inhabitants of the Holy Land." Later on the Jews 
of Poland, Bohemia, and Germany offered similar aid. This was 
the origin of the halukkah. The money was sent not so much for the 
purpose of charity as to enable Jewish scholars and students to study 
and interpret the Scriptures and Jewish holy books and to pray for 
the Jews in the Diaspora (Dispersion), at the Wailing Wall in Jeru 
salem, and in other holy cities of Palestine. The halukkah, as one 
could imagine, was soon abused. It only stopped, however, when 
World War I began in 1914 and no more money came to Palestine 
for that purpose. 

In 1882, when the Yemenites arrived, those who had benefited 
from the generosity of others were unwilling to pass it on. 

Father was interested in the Gadites at once. Their story about 
their unprovoked conviction that this was the time to return to 
Palestine coincided with what he felt sure was coming to pass the 
fulfillment of the prophecy of the return of the Jews to Palestine. 
Also, Father was attracted by the classical purity of Semitic features 
of these Yemenite immigrants, so unlike the Jews he was accustomed 
to see in Jerusalem or in the United States. These people were dis 
tinctive: they had dark skin with dark hair and dark eyes. They wore 
side curls, according to the Mosaic law: "Ye shalt not round the 
corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy 
beard." Otherwise their dress was Arabic. They had poise, and their 
movements were graceful, like those of the Bedouins. They were 
slender and somewhat undersized. Many of the women were beauti 
ful, and the men, even the young men, looked venerable with their 
long beards. They regarded as true the tradition that they belonged 
to the tribe of Gad. They believed that they had not gone into cap 
tivity in Babylon, and that they had not returned at the time of Ezra 
and Nehemiah to rebuild the temple. For thousands of years they 
had remained in Yemen, hence their purity of race and feature. 

The thirty-second chapter of Numbers tells how the children of 
Gad and the children of Reuben asked Moses to allow them to re 
main on the east side of Jordan, which country had "found favor 
in their sigftt" It goes on to tell how Moses rebuked them, saying, 
"Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?" Then Moses 
promised them that if they would go armed and help subdue the 
country, then "this land shall be your possession before the Lord." 

In the thirteenth chapter of Joshua, "when Joshua was stricken 


in years," he gives instructions that the Gadites and the Reubenites 
and half the tribe of Menasseh should receive their inheritance "be 
yond the Jordan eastward even as Moses the servant of the Lord 
gave them." 

In the Apology of al Kindy, written at the court of al Mamun, 
A.D. 830, the author speaks of Medina as being a poor town, mostly 
inhabitated by Jews. He also speaks of other tribes of Jews, one of 
which was deported to Syria. 

Would it be too remote to conjecture that the remnants of these 
tribes should have wandered to and remained in Yemen? I know 
there are other theories about how Jews got there, and about their 
origin, but Father believed that "Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad," 
and the Group did everything in their power to help these immi 
grants. We called them Gadites from that time. 

They were in dreadful need when we found them. 

Some of them had died of exposure and starvation during their 
long and uncomfortable trip; now malaria, typhoid, and dysentery 
were doing their work. They had to be helped, and quickly. No time 
was lost in getting relief started. The Group rented rooms, and the 
Gadites were installed in cooler and more sanitary quarters. Medical 
help was immediately brought. Mr. Steinharf s sister, an Orthodox 
Jewish woman, was engaged to purchase kosher meat, which, with 
vegetables and rice or cracked burghal (wheat) she made into a 
nutritious soup. Bread and soup were distributed once a day to all, 
with the addition of milk for the children and invalids. One of the 
American Colony members was always present at distribution time, 
to see that it was done equitably and well. The Gadites had a scribe 
among them who was a cripple. He could not use his arms and wrote 
the most beautiful Hebrew, holding a reed pen between his toes. He 
wrote a prayer for Father and his associates, which was brought one 
day and presented to Father as a thanksgiving offering. They said 1 
that they repeated the prayer daily. I have it in my possession; it is 
written on a piece of parchment. The translation was made by Mr. 

This amicable state of affairs continued for some time. Then the 
elders, who were the heads of the families, came as a delegation to 
Father. They filed upstairs to the large upper living room, looking 
solemn and sad, and smelling strongly of garlic. They told Father that 
certain Orthodox Jews, the very ones who had turned blind eyes and 
deaf ears to their entreaties for help when they arrived in such a piti 
able state, were now persecuting them under the claim that they were 
violating the law by eating Christian food. Some of the older men 
and women had stopped eating, and in consequence were weak and 
ill. They made Father understand how vital this accusation, even if 


false, was to them, and they begged him to divide the money spent 
among them, instead of giving them the food. 

Everyone knows how much more economical it is to make a large 
quantity of soup in one caldron than in many individual pots; how 
ever, their request was granted. A bit more money was added to the 
original sum, and every Friday morning the heads of the Gadite 
families would appear at the American Colony and be given coins in 
proportion to the number of individuals to be fed. 

They explained to Father that they were trying to learn the trades 
of the new country and hoped very soon not to need assistance. 
They had been goldsmiths and silversmiths of a crude sort in Yemen, 
but Jerusalem at that time had no appreciation or demand for that 
sort of handicraft. 

One by one the elders came to tell us they had found work, to 
thank, us for what we had done, and to say they needed no further 
help. Father was impressed with the unspoiled integrity of these 

The Colony continued giving help to the original group of Gadites 
in decreasing amounts until only a few old people and widows re 
mained. But these came regularly once a week. Their number was 
swelled by newcomers and we still shared what we could with them: 
portions of dry rice, lentils, tea, coffee, and sugar, or other dry 
articles. After the British occupation of Palestine and the advent of 
the Zionist organization, with its resources and vast machinery to 
meet pressing necessities, after forty years our list of dependent 
Gadites was taken over by them. 

Even then, individuals continued to come to the doors of the 
American Colony to ask our help. 

One night in June 1948 the American Colony had been under 
fire all night between the Jews west of us and the Arab legionaries 
east of us. In the morning a Yemenite Jew lay dead in the road be 
fore our gates. I recognized Hyam, a Yemenite from the "box 
colony * near the American Colony. He was one of those who had 
been receiving help from us for years. 

For all this relief work the American Colony was using the money 
of its members. In the meantime Mr. Merrill had succeeded in ad 
versely influencing our friends at home in the United States, and our 
checks in this mission of mercy were not valid. This was the origin 
of our getting into debt. 

In 1884, two years after their arrival, the Gadite elders were 
again at our door urgently asking to see Father. They were excited 
and agitated, for in Jerusalem, they said, they had caught sight of a 
"rabbi** who had won their confidence back in Yemen, Arabia, and 


forcibly abducted their most ancient and precious manuscript, the 
Temanite Scroll. 

The "rabbi" turned out to be a man whom I shall call Mr. Moses. 
He was a converted Jew. His wife, before their marriage, had been a 
Lutheran deaconess. They had two daughters, and at this time they 
were living in one of the villas in a garden outside the walls of Jeru 
salem. I remember on one of our walks standing with my nurse and 
watching the peacocks in their garden. Mr. Moses and his family 
attended Christ Church and Father remarked that, when he began to 
pray, "one might just as well try and make oneself comfortable," 
for he would go on and on ever so long. 

Mr. Moses was an antiquarian and trafficked in antiques. He had 
enough knowledge coupled with ability and coggery to deceive the 
archaeological students for a long time. To relate this story in full 
I must go back a number of years. 

When Emperor Frederick II of Germany came to Jerusalem as 
Crown Prince in 1869, the Turkish Government presented him with 
a valuable bit of property inside the old city, near the Holy Sepul- 
cher, known as the Muristan. It is the site of the hospitals, caravan 
sary, and church of the Knights of Saint John. It was in ruins at the 
time, but the stones lying about showed what the buildings had been- 
The church was reconstructed later, and Kaiser William II came to 
Jerusalem in 1898 for the dedication of the Church of the Redeemer. 
While Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia was in Jerusalem, Mr. 
Moses presented him with a number of Canaanite pottery idols, 
which he claimed he had found in a cave in the mountains of Moab, 
east of the Jordan. 

These idols, according to one description, "were the teraphim or 
household gods of the Edomites and were all of them revoltingly 
coarse presentments of erotic passions." They had been on exhibi 
tion in the lecture room of the London Jews Society before the 
presentation was made, so that the public could have a preview of 
them, and my foster brother, who was then a boarder in the London 
Jews Society Boys School, was given the privilege of seeing them 
with the other scholars, and he was frightened to death by the sight 

He knew the Israelites were always getting into trouble because 
they worshiped idols. He thought they must have been impelled by 
supernatural power to do so, for no one would willingly worship 
such ugly things. Poor Jacob tried to keep his eyes fastened on the 
toes of his shoes, but in spite of himself he would look up and get 
a glimpse of the hideous objects. However, the Crown Prince 
seemed highly pleased with the gift, for Mr. Moses was decorated, 
and the idols were carefully packed and dispatched to Germany. 

Mr. Moses frequently disappeared from Jerusalem for long pe-> 


riods, and it was understood that he made journeys into dangerous 
and remote places in search of antiquities. Archaeology in those days 
was not the science it is today, and research time was carried on 
more or less by amateurs. From one of these trips Mr. Moses re 
turned and remained only a short time in Jerusalem before proceed 
ing to England. No one knew where he had been and great secrecy 
was maintained about his actions and movements. Soon it was 
rumored that he had offered to sell a very old Hebrew manuscript 
to the British Museum. This manuscript is now in the British Mu 
seum, and is called the "Temanite Scroll." It is the oldest Hebrew 
manuscript in the museum, and Mr. Moses got a large sum of money 
for it. 

After selling the Temanite Scroll to the British Museum, Mr. 
Moses returned to Jerusalem and for some time was lost to the out 
side world. 

His shadow occupation in Jerusalem was being the proprietor of 
a shop. On his signboard were these words, "Bookseller and Anti 
quarian," and underneath this was painted, "Correspondent to the 
British Museum." 

However, he spent most of his time in his home, at some mysteri 
ous occupation, and it was during this time that our Gadite elders 
recognized him and came to Father for advice. 

They told Father that he had come to them in Yemen purporting 
to be a rabbi, which he may have been, before his so-called con 
version, and it was in that capacity that he lived among them when 
he was in Yemen, joining them in prayers in their synagogue until 
he had won their confidence. When he succeeded, he asked if they 
had any very old manuscripts. They told him that they had, but that 
they never brought them out except on a certain feast day. As that 
special feast was not far distant, "Rabbi" Moses remained in Yemen, 
ingratiating himself in the good graces of these simple folk. When the 
Temanite Scroll was uncovered he saw, with his experienced and 
practiced eye, how old and valuable it was. He offered to buy it, 
but they said they would rather part with their eyes or their lives 
than with their beloved manuscript. When Mr. Moses saw that en 
treaties were no good, he went to the Turkish governor. One can 
only imagine what transaction took place there, for a sufficient 
escort of soldiers was given to "him and he went to the synagogue 
and forcibly took the Temanite Scroll, leaving a nominal sum of 

Before their talk with Father could be translated into terms of 
action, Mr. Moses left Jerusalem, and the next surprise came when 
we learned he was in London, offering the British Museum a much 
older manuscript than the one he had already sold to them two years 


before. This one, he claimed, had been written by Eliazar, grandson 
of Aaron. He said he had found it in a cave in the mountains of 
Moab, east of the Jordan. For a number of weeks the archaeological 
students of Europe were agog with eager expectations and the desire 
to know if this remarkable manuscript was authentic. Many of the 
scientific periodicals of the day had articles about this baffling manu 
script. Students from Germany and France went to London to study 
it. The parchment was supple and very old, no one could gainsay 
that. The characters were of the oldest Hebrew, like those of the 
Moabite stone. Here was a problem: how could parchment, buried 
for thousands of years in a cave in Moab, remain so supple and soft? 
Yet it was old, very old, there was no doubt about that. Sentiment 
swayed this way and that, and more articles were written. 

In the meantime Mr. Moses was waiting in London to be paid 
the 1,000,000 he was asking for the manuscript, and the British 
Museum was zealously guarding the treasure. The controversy had 
been going on for about six weeks, gaining publicity with time, when 
a certain M. Clermont-Ganneau, who had been French Consul in 
Jerusalem and had excavated the so-called Tombs of the Bangs, 
appeared in London. It was during his residence in Jerusalem that 
the presentation of the idols to Crown Prince Frederick had taken 
place, and he had suspected their authenticity even then. His suspi 
cion had been confirmed by Mr. Moses s servant, Saleem, who 
always accompanied him on his expeditions to Moab. Saleem had 
quarreled with his master, and in revenge had gone to M. Clermont- 
Ganneau and confessed his complicity in the forgery of the idols. M. 
Clermont-Ganneau had exposed Mr. Moses through a pamphlet, 
but by the time he was negotiating for the sale of this precious manu 
script the pamphlet had been forgotten. 

However, the appearance of M. Clermont-Ganneau in London 
caused Mr. Moses to quake in his shoes. M. Clermont-Ganneau 
asked to see the manuscript in question, and with the knowledge he 
had tucked away in his memory, he looked at it with a more than 
ordinarily critical eye. He asked to examine the Temanite Scroll as 
well. He noticed the tiniest black dot at certain intervals along the 
second scroll. He put the two scrolls together and found what he 
suspected to be the case, that the parchment of the second had been 
cut oS the first. It was the wide margin which Mr. Moses had care 
fully cut off, and the minute black speck at equal intervals along the 
edge, which M. Clermont-Ganneau had discovered, was the continu 
ation of the marginal line of the original scroll. The parchment was 
truly old, but the writing was very cleverly done by Mr. Moses him 
self, and not by Eliazar, the grandson of Aaron. 


Mr. Moses wasted no time when the fraud was exposed. He 
crossed the Channel to Rotterdam and committed suicide. 

He had been busily writing the second scroll in Jerusalem when 
our Gadites recognized him as the "rabbi" who had abducted their 

Father wrote to the authorities of the British Museum, telling 
them the real story and asking for some remuneration for the Yem 
enite Jews, but the Museum authorities had paid heavily for the 
first scroll and had been harassed by the fraud which followed, and 
evidently wanted to hear nothing more about the matter. 


IN THOSE early days, before the Group became acclimated, it 
was necessary for the older people to take some rest from their 
strenuous work. There are many accounts in Father s diary of picnics 
in the fields, especially in the spring when wild flowers cover the 
hills and valleys. There were also pilgrimages to farther places. 

Horse, camel, and donkeyback were the only means of trans 
portation. The only carriage road was between Jerusalem and Jaffa; 
the carriage roads to Jericho and Hebron were not built until 1890. 

We rode many tunes to nearby Bethlehem, the "little town" hal 
lowed by the Church of the Nativity. Bethany, on the Mount of 
Olives, was another of our favorite villages; the traditional tomb of 
Lazarus was shown there, and the place where Martha met the Lord. 

There were trips to Ramallah, and farther away, to Jericho and 


Ramallah was particularly pleasant because of our amicable rela 
tionship with members of the Friends Mission station there. 

There were annual visits to Mr. and Mrs. Floyd in Jaffa. Their 
cottage was small, but Mr. Floyd was a contractor for tourists, and 
had the equipment to make us comfortable. Tents were pitched in 
the garden with camp beds set within, and thus a most enjoyable 
week could be spent. The reputation for good singing by the Colony 
quartet, which consisted of Mother, soprano; Mrs. Gould, alto; 
Jacob, tenor; and Elias, bass, had gone before us, and crowds 
gathered in the evening around the fence to listen to the singing. 
Soon the audience learned which of the hymns and Negro spirituals 
they liked best, and they would call for "Go Down, Moses," "Swing 
Low, Sweet Chariot," "In the Secret of His Presence," and many 
others, keeping the American Colony chok singing for hours. 

The native people were very kind and appreciative. One of our 
Moslem friends rented a house in an orchard in the village of Bin 
Karim and invited a few of our Group at a time, until he had given 
us all a turn. Another time we rented the vineyard belonging to our 
cook in Ramallah, and the guest room or "madiafieh" of the village 


was put at our disposal. Those were happy days, when, in the early 
mornings, we would step out of doors to pluck and eat delicious 
grapes and purple figs, sweet and fresh with the dew still glistening 
on them. 

Early in 1884 our Moslem grocer asked if he might bring some 
Bedouin sheiks from east of the Jordan to call on us. He traded in 
grain with them. Father was especially pleased to make their ac 
quaintance and the first visit by Sheik All Diab, the paramount 
sheik of the large and powerful Adwan tribe, was the beginning of 
a friendship which has continued through several generations of 
sheiks to the present day. 

The invitation for us to return the visit came through Ali Diab s 
son, Sheik Fiaz. And so in November 1884 a party went to Hesban 
or Heshbon, high up on the mountains of Moab. Heshbon was the 
capital of King Sihon of the Amorites. It is only a bare site now, but 
it was an important Levitical city of Reuban and Gad. It came again 
into the possession of the Amorites before the captivity. 

I remember well the visit to Heshbon, although I was only six 
years old. In July I had been ill with what was considered to be 
rheumatic fever. It left me weak and pale. I begged to be taken on 
the exciting expedition to the Bedouin country, and as my parents 
thought a change might be beneficial to me, I was allowed to go. I 
rode sometimes behind Father and Rob on their horses, but nearly 
all the time I was perched high on top of the load of the pack horse. 

Mother told about the trip in a letter to a friend: 

We started early in the morning, on horseback, without any protec 
tion except our Bedouin friends who were armed to/ne teeth with swords, 
pistols, knives, etc. I wish you could have seen us start out with these wild 

The ride to Jericho took the entire day. For this trip we followed 
the road with which we were most familiar, from the Damascus 
Gate below our house, along the city wall to the northeast corner 
a picturesque bit of masbnry, although, as considered in this part 
of the world, of recent date. It was built about the time America 
was discovered by Columbus, which we Americans think is ancient 
history, but it is not considered so in the Holy Land. 

We now faced the Mount of Olives, lighted as we started such 
expeditions early by the morning glow that gives everything that 
mystic charm which is so particularly beautiful in Palestine, and 
descended into the Valley of Jehoshaphat across the small bridge 
where the Kedron Brook flows after a hard rain. 

To our right, as we turned to go over the bridge, is a building 
marking the spot where the Greek Orthodox Church claim that 


Stephen was stoned. The Dominican monastery and church on the 
Nablus Road, already mentioned, is the more authentic site. We are 
accustomed to these dual sites in Palestine, for nearly every saint 
has two birthplaces and more than one burial place. These -discrep 
ancies shock the tourists. Some people visit Jerusalem and the Holy 
Land in the hope that doubt will be eliminated and faith fortified in 
religious belief. When they come in such a spirit, the churches 
guarded by Mohammedan soldiers, to keep so-called Christians from 
fighting, the foul-smelling shrines pointed out by some greasy, repul 
sive-looking man, or the numerous sites shown for the same occur 
rence, repell them. The hot trip to Jericho and the "muddy creek" 
which is the River Jordan could be disillusioning. 

But there is much beauty and great interest everywhere. Greasy 
and repulsive looking many may be on the outside, but earnest souls 
can dwell in dirty garments. The hills and valleys and the costumes 
of the people are those He saw, and one finds Jesus wherever one 
may go in the Holy Land. 

It was with such thoughts in our minds that we passed Gethsem- 
ane at the foot of the Mount of Olives. That small garden, walled in 
and kept in such immaculate condition by Franciscan monks, with 
old-fashioned flowers of every kind and hue blooming the year 
round in the shadow of the old olive trees with their curiously 
gnarled trunis, known to be nine hundred years old, may or may 
not be the real spot where heaven and earth met on the wonderful 
Thursday night two thousand years ago. But we do know Geth- 
semane was on the side of Olivet across the Kedron. 

To those who have a deeper understanding of what these experi 
ences mean, the actual spot does not matter much. 

We rode over the brow of Olivet between high walls surrounding 
Jewish cemeteries, where the graves have crept until they reach the 
top, .for the Jews consider themselves fortunate to die in Jerusalem 
and be buried on the slope of the Mount of Olives, near the Valley 
of Jehoshaphat, in the hope that they will be the first on hand in the 
Day of Judgment where all will meet, according to the verse in JoeL 

We always turned back from the Mount of Olives for a last view 
of Jerusalem. The Mosque el Aksa and the Dome of the Rock 
(Mosque of Omar) stand in grandeur above the parapets of the city 
wall, and below the deep descent of the Valley of Jehoshaphat all 
rich in sacred memories and impressively beautiful. 

This is nearly the same view which Christ and His disciples looked 
upon when the latter were impressed with the benevolence of the 
Jews and drew Christ s attention to the wonderful buildings. "Is it 
possible that all these edifices which are built from unselfish offer 
ings are not acceptable to God?" 


We passed through quiet and dusty Bethany. A steep, winding 
descent took us down the deep valley separating the hills around 
Jerusalem to the Apostle s Fountain, En-Shemesh (Spring of the 
Sun) of the Old Testament, marking the boundary between Judah 
and Benjamin. 

This spring lies in a hollow, the hills forming a small amphi 
theater, and the road makes a horseshoe around it. I remember pic 
nics there in the warm hollow with the sun glaring down, and a 
sharki (east) wind blowing. 

This was sometimes an exciting place to be, for caravans of 
Bedouins rest there on their way to and from the "medenie" (city) 
where they bring their grain for sale. There are terrible blood feuds 
among the Bedouins, and if persons from the respective parties meet 
here, and want to water their animals at the trickling spring at the 
same time, a terrific battle ensues that may end in bloodshed. We 
witnessed such a battle once, as children, when we were picnicking 
at the Apostle s Fountain, and the pastoral scene suddenly changed 
to a bloody feud with bullets flying. 

Riding on, we came to Jericho, situated on the plain a short dis 
tance from the Judean hills. 

Jericho was not an attractive city then. 

It contained several hotels and a Russian hospice. Here thousands 
of pilgrims were accommodated, especially at Epiphany, when a 
service was held on the banks of the Jordan and the pilgrims, men 
a^d women together, immersed themselves in the river, wearing 
their shrouds. 

Besides the above-mentioned buildings, with the exception of a 
small Greek church, Jericho contained nothing but dirty hovels 
where the inhabitants eked out an existence. They were even less 
fortunate than the roving tribes who leave a place when it becomes 
thoroughly dirty and pitch their tents on some clean spot, and when 
spring-cleaning time comes, move again. 

Not far from Jericho is Elisha s Fountain, which was cured by 
Elisha with a cruse of salt. 

But Jericho was blessed with a tropical climate, which we often 
came to enjoy in cold winters for several weeks at a time,. Before 
many years passed rich Arabs began building winter residences and 
hotels there, and in 1948 the city filled with Arab refugees. These 
unfortunate persons, driven from their homes, flocked to Jericho 
because of its warmth during that unusually cold winter. 

On this visit with our Bedouin friends we arrived in Jericho in 
late afternoon after, as Mother wrote in her letter, "going downhill 
afl the way.- 


She continued: 

We have a friend in Jericho, who visited our home several times and 
asked us to visit him in Jericho. We had a warm welcome and were ush 
ered into an orange and lemon grove. There were also bananas and other 
tropical fruit trees. 

It was a refreshing sight after our long ride. We remained in Jericho 
for the night and started early in the morning on our journey. We rode 
an hour and a half and then arrived at the Jordan. There was no bridge, 
and as the water was too high for us to ford the stream, we all crossed in 
a ferry, horses and all. The ferry was a most quaint, primitive affair. 

The scenery about the Jordan was beautiful. The weather was hot al 
though late in November. We remounted on the other side and rode for 
another hour and a half across the plain, then the son of the sheik rode 
on before us to announce our arrival to an encampment of Bedouins 
belonging to this tribe, but who were shepherds. The tent we entered was 
prepared with rich rugs on the ground for us to sit upon. The encamp 
ment was an interesting sight; men, women, and children flocked about 
to greet us. Some of them had never seen a white or European lady be 
fore. I assure you it was refreshing to be able to lie down and rest under 
this tent for it was still hot. Very soon after our arrival they killed the 
"fatted lamb" and "baked the cake" for us, just like in the days of Abra 
ham. The "savory dish" was put before us with the "cakes" of bread 
and we surrounded the dish. We ate with our fingers. Our hosts picked 
out choice bits with their hands and offered them to us to eat. In the 
evening a wood fire was built before the tent and all gathered round it 
in a reclining attitude, facing the fire. It would be hard to describe the 
wild scene. The dark faces of the men, some of them almost entirely 
covered by their "kaffiyeh" or headdress arrangement, with only their 
bright eyes showing, and all of them armed with pistols and knives. It 
was a strange sight, and, I must confess, it was a little frightening one 
I had read about but never witnessed before. I have no doubt that we 
were as strange to them as they were to us. After supper they wanted 
to entertain us to the best of their ability, so they arranged one of their 
war dances. It was the wildest scene one could imagine. About a dozen 
men stood shoulder to shoulder swaying back and forth with rhythmic 
movement and singing a war song, which was weird enough. Before 
them a woman danced with a drawn sword in her hand, which she bran 
dished with dexterous skill. Her dress was very long and also her sleeves. 
Both her dress and sleeves flew back and forth with her rapid movements. 
The faster she danced the more excited the men got, until it all finished in 
a grand finale of noise and dust. 

We remained in this encampment until early the next morning, when 
we resumed our journey. We were now in the country of Moab. The 
mountains of Moab, seen so often from Jerusalem looking like iridescent 
silk, were before us to climb, but in reality they were rocks and stone 
with no made roads, only steep bridle paths. We had a long, hard ride 
until about three in the afternoon when we reached our destination. The 
tent we were ushered into was 150 feet long, woven out of goats hair 


and quite waterproof. Nora, Bertha, and I were taken into the women s 
compartment and the men were taken into the sheik s compartment. A 
beautiful Kalim carpet hung and divided the tent. 

The wife of the great sheik met us with the gracious dignity of a queen. 
She stood at the door of the tent welcoming us in a dress of dark blue 
material ten feet long and sleeves eleven feet long (we measured them) . 
The dress is the same length all around, and it takes an experienced 
person to walk inside this bag, with the dress trailing behind her. It is let 
down on state occasions, otherwise it is tucked up around her waist in 
several folds. She stood there commanding her servants and handmaidens 
who in response brought out mattresses covered with rich red satin. Our 
shoes were taken off and we were given water so that we might wash. 
Then the handmaidens hurried to bring us lemonade, sweets, and coffee. 
Directly the whole encampment was astir. The fatted lamb or kid had to 
be prepared, the bread baked. Butter and "laban" [clabbered milk] were 
brought with the cooked meal and set in huge trays and bowls on the 
ground. Rich Persian rugs were laid round for us to sit upon. After we 
had partaken of the evening meal, all the retainers were served according 
to their rank. Even the casual passer-by, no matter how ragged, was fed, 
After the remnants of the meal and the dishes were removed, the eve 
ning fire was rekindled. The sheik and the male part of his family and 
retainers surrounded it. Then the court joker and singer came forward 
and sang the praises of the great sheik telling about the numerous 
battles he had fought and won, and recounting the many enemies he had 
killed. He threw up the dust with his hand and said "so many more than 
could be counted." The women sang in companies, one side answering the 
other like the women who sang in I Samuel 18:7: "And the womer 
answered one another as they played. Saul hath slain his thousands and 
David his ten thousands." 

These people live just as Abraham did. Their customs have nol 
changed. They have two or more wives and each wife has her hand 
maidens and servants. It is interesting to see actually with one s own eyes 
how Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived. They had the "cake of raisins 
and all such terms used by the ancient fathers are everyday expressions 
The Bible becomes a living book. 

The Bedouins are feared by all, especially by travelers. The Turki 
have not been able to subdue them. No one dares to travel in thei 
country and here we were being entertained by them. 

The sheik with a number of his sons and retainers followed us tc 
Jerusalem and spent a few days with us at the American Colony. 

They sat in our sitting room or salon, as they call it here, which wa 
decorated with their pistols, knives, and swords hung upon the wall. 

While these wild visitors were our guests, we were as fearless of dange] 
as though they were the meekest of men. We have become very warn 
friends now, for if one has ever eaten salt with them, they will never tun 
from that friend. 

In copying Mother s letter, I realize how customs have changec 
since then. The grandchildren of these Bedouin friends still visit us 


but they arrive in automobiles, and when I visited them recently in 
Amman, Trans-Jordan, it was to a European and modernly fur 
nished house that I was taken, although the stuffed sheep and the 
laban were still "served in a lordly dish." 

Lately I have had the great-grandchild of Sheik Ali Diab Adwan 
in the Anna Spafford Baby Nursing Home. 

Some time ago a group of Bedouins came to visit the American 
Colony, and one, looking across the room at me, said, "Is that not 
Murtha?" This is the nearest they can get to pronouncing my name, 
Bertha. He had been one of the younger, lesser sheiks who escorted 
us on the ride to the shepherds* encampment at Shunet Nimrin, 
where King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan now has his summer camp, 
and he had shot a beautiful little bird and brought it to me as a 

"I expected you to be pleased," he said. "Instead of being happy, 
as our children would have been, and roasted it on hot coals and 
eaten it, you cried, and put it into a beautiful handkerchief, and 
buried it!" 

It was a reaction that had puzzled him for nearly half a century. 

Mother tells in her letter that the Bedouins were interested in see 
ing the first white woman and child. As a compliment to Father, they 
initiated me into the tribe and ever since have called me "Murtha 

In all Mother s letters written at this time there are many affec 
tionate references to "our son Rob." I remember so well how greatly 
Rob enjoyed this trip into Moab and other journeys we were able to 
make in those days, and how greatly Rob loved Palestine. 

I did not know that before leaving Chicago our family doctor had 
warned Father and Mother of a loss sure to come, and that my 
parents, knowing this, had taken Rob out of school and brought him 
with us to share the wonderful experience of life in the Holy Land. 

When Mother took her four little daughters to Europe, Rob had 
been left behind in "prep school." He was skating one day near the 
school when the ice broke, and when found he had been in the water 
a long time. After that there was always a heart murmur, and I could 
hear it when I sat on his knee. He was very tall, with proportionately 
broad shoulders, although he was thin. He had a winning manner 
and made friends quickly everyone loved him. 

In September, 1885 Rob went to help some friends near Media, 
a village on the plain of Sharon, mark out and prepare for planting 
trees when the rains came. It was very hot, and Rob, interested in 
horticulture as he was in anything new, ignored the sun mounting to 
its zenith. 

His friends brought him home in a spring wagon, and he was un- 


conscious and burning with fever by the time they reached the 
Damascus Gate, He was carried up the hill in a stretcher made from 
a blanket. Loving hands could not bring back a ray of consciousness. 
His death on September 10, 1885, was the first in our Group. 

The young men of the German Templar Colony, in whose ceme 
tery for some reason he was buried, were all Rob s friends, and 
offered to be his pallbearers. Wearing dark suits with broad white 
bands over the shoulders, they carried his coffin down the hill to the 
Damascus Gate where a lumber wagon waited, for there was no 
hearse in Jerusalem then, nor in all Palestine, nor was there one until 
the late 1930s, The cemetery was about two miles from the Gate and 
we walked along the dusty road following the wagon. 

As we came through the Templar Colony, on the only tree-lined 
road at that time in Jerusalem, other young German Colony men 
who comprised the brass band played from the upper balcony of one 
of the houses the "Dead March" from Saul by Handel They played 
it beautifully, and although I was only seven, whenever I hear that 
music I remember how I stood in the road, my heart aching with 
sorrow, holding tightly to Aunt Maggie s hand, and in memory I feel 
again the utter loneliness that came over me. Handsome, brilliant 
Rob, the cousin who had been like a brother, my dear friend, my 
greatest tormentor, was gone. 

I was grieving, too, because Father and Mother were so sad. 

They, who had borne so much sorrow, knew how to meet this 

That night when I went to bed I wept bitterly, and Mother came 
and talked to me. I remember some of her words. "What a wonder 
ful awakening!" "Now he sees Him face to face." Her face radiated 
such sublime joy that it removed the sting of death for me from that 
moment, and the fear of it as well. Something happened to me then, 
for Mother made heaven near and real to me, and I was comforted, 
and went to sleep. 

One week after Rob s death Mrs. Merriman had a stroke and 
quietly passed away. The dear old lady was laid to rest beside Rob, 
whom she had dearly loved. So Death came to the American Colony. 


IN 1886 A shifting in American politics changed the Consul in 
Jerusalem. Grover Cleveland was now President of the United States. 
His term of office proved a blessing to the American Colony, for Mr. 
Selah Merrill left Jerusalem and a new Consul arrived, giving us a 
few years of respite. 
New Year s Day, Mother wrote: 

A quiet day. The house is trimmed with mistletoe and evergreens, and 
presents a festive appearance. [Mistletoe in Palestine is a parasite which 
grows on olive trees and has red berries,] In the evening Mr. Arbeely, the 
new American Consul, came to tea and spent the evening. All our Moham 
medan friends came and were so glad to see him. They gave him a hearty 

Mr. Arbeely was a Syrian by birth, but an American by adoption. 
The Turkish Government did not recognize the loss of a subject 
through mere naturalization by another government. As Syria and 
the Lebanon were then under Turkish rule, they considered him a 
Turk and not an American. As it happened, Mr, Arbeely was soon 
recalled from Washington and Mr. Henry Oilman of Detroit, Michi 
gan, came to take his place. 

Mr. Oilman and Father had met as young men in connection with 
the Detroit Public Library which they assisted in founding. It afforded 
Father much pleasure to have his old friend in the American Con 
sulate. Mr. Oilman took keen interest in the people of the country 
and made many friends. He was a student, and associated himself 
with archaeology and social welfare. His son, Dr. Robert Oilman, 
now a prominent ophthalmologist in Detroit, was then a medical 
student. On a visit to his father, he associated himself with the 
Ophthalmic Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, where he was al 
lowed to assist. 

Henry Oilman wrote a novel called Hassan: A Fellah A Ro 
mance of Palestine. 

Other old friends came from Chicago in this pleasant year. 


In the spring of 1886 Mrs. Buckingham and her younger daughter, 
Rose (who later married Mr. Gordon Selfridge, proprietor of the 
large department store in London), with an elder sister and her hus 
band, Mr. and Mrs. Chandler, visited Palestine. 

The party was personally conducted by our Jaffa friend Mr. Rolla 
Floyd, the tourist agent. There was no good hotel in Jerusalem, so 
they camped on the Mount of Olives. Such camps were magnificent, 
the equipment sumptuous, and the service excellent They were con 
stantly used by tourists. The tents were and still are made in Egypt. 
Strong sailcloth is used on the outside and this is lined with indigo 
blue every inch of which is covered with bright patchwork in ara 
besque patterns. The camp consisted of a bedroom tent for each per 
son or couple, and every morning a tin bathtub would be dragged 
into the tent by the attendant. Hot and cold water stood beside the 
tub in big containers, usually Standard Oil tins. A large tent with 
double poles was used for dining and sitting room with comfortable 
camp chairs. 

The kitchen tent contained a stove consisting of an iron frame on 
legs with places for a charcoal fire. The camp cooks were excellent, 
and the waiters, well trained. In those days of leisurely travel, the 
camp provided the ideal way, and they were used by Thomas Cook 
and Son and all tourist contractors. These equipments were com 
mandeered by the Turkish Army in 1914 and that ended camp life 
on the grand style. When travel started up again after the war good 
hotels had been built. Automobiles took the place of carriages and 
horses and changed the tempo of travel. 

I went with my parents several times to meals in the beautiful 
camp of the Buckinghams and Chandlers, and we saw them often 
during their visit to Jerusalem. They went on to Jericho, the River 
of Jordan, and the Dead Sea. As Mother intimates in her letter about 
her visit to the Bedouins, the country was unsafe and the Turkish 
Government conceived a clever device to guard travelers. One of the 
villages was considered the "robbers home" of eastern Palestine. 
The family of the paramount sheik was officially made responsible 
for the safety of the Jericho Road. All travelers paid a fee to this 
family, and a member would then accompany the party. This made 
the village with the sheik and his family responsible for safety and 
insured no molestation. Woe betide the party that had not paid its 
fee. "Racketeering" is not an American invention! 

As the Buckingham party was important and also rich (such in 
formation travels fast), Sheik Mustifa himself accompanied them 
on this trip. He rode a beautiful Arab mare with the usual oriental 
trappings on saddle and bridle. All the party were on horseback. 
Sheik Mustifa soon observed that Rose was a good horsewoman and 


resolved to play a practical joke. He secretly took Rose into his con 
fidence and told her to remove her feet from her stirrups. In those 
days all ladies rode sidesaddle and wore flowing riding habits. Rose 
was quite thrilled with the idea and acquiesced in this escapade. Sheik 
Mustif a lagged behind for a bit and when they came to a level stretch 
of road appropriate for his demonstration of Arabic horsemanship, 
he came forward at full gallop. As he passed Rose, he grabbed her 
around her waist and, placing her before him on his horse, continued 
his wild race, his bright-colored kaffiyeh and abayah waving behind 
in the wind as though in farewell to the rest of the party. Mrs. Buck 
ingham and the Chandlers imagined Rose had been kidnaped, and 
they followed in pursuit. When Sheik Mustifa felt he had continued 
the joke long enough, he retraced his tracks with a radiant Rose. 

It is the kind of humor an Arab delights in. 

Among the many tourists whom Mr. Floyd conducted through the 
Holy Land was Mark Twain. The famous author rode a horse he 
named Baalbek, because he was such a "magnificent ruin." Innocents 
Abroad was written after this trip. Mr. Floyd used to amuse us by 
telling us anecdotes about Mark Twain. I remember one special story 
which, as far as I know, has never been published. The party was 
camping in Galilee, where in the spring of the year the wild flowers 
are plentiful and very beautiful. Herbs and plants grow to abnormal 
size but retain their luscious and tender qualities. The cook had 
gathered some wild greens and made a salad which was served with 
roast lamb for dinner. A member of the party asked the author why 
he was like Nebuchadnezzar, and expected the answer to be because 
he was eating the "grass of the field." Mark Twain promptly replied 
"because I am eating with the brutes." 

In spite of Father s busy life he carried on an extensive corre 
spondence. He kept in touch with the homeland and his friends in 
this way. Also, he kept them in touch with Jerusalem. 

Miss Frances Willard in a letter to Father, dated August 2, 1888, 

It was kind of you to write me, and let me have a little insight into 
your remarkable life. I pressed the flowers, and have put them in an 
album, in memory of you and your society. I am sending you some 
documents, that you may know a little of what we are trying to do here, 

and I shall take the liberty to mention you to Mrs. when I write to 

her. She will very likely be in Jerusalem within the year. 

Believe me, I have at heart the same outcome that engages you so 
earnestly, and though we may have different ways of looking at it, I like 
to think the spirit is the same. 

Ever yours, with high esteem, 



Another friend who had visted the American Colony in Jerusalem 
wrote to Father: "Please take some pains to see Americans who visit 
Jerusalem. There is great interest associated with your work. I have 
advised all my friends to visit your Colony." We met many Ameri 
cans every tourist season, who came in the spring or early summer, 
because tourist agencies combine the trip to Egypt with that to 

Mr. Henry Waller, who had been our neighbor in Lake View and 
partner with Father in certain undertakings, wrote to him: 

The picture you so vividly draw of the peerless, springlike sky of 
Palestine resting upon the Mount of Olives, the mountains of Moab, 
and the heights where Titus camped, in full view of your windows, was 
very stimulating to an old man, although hard at work in the midst of 
books and papers, but who often meditates upon that wondrous land of 
balm and blessing for both body and soul. 

I would indeed love to enjoy one long, soul-inspiring look of that land 
which our blessed Lord s eyes rested upon whilst in the flesh, and upon 
which his precious feet have trodden. . . . Quite a stir took place in 

Chicago when Reverend in a recent sermon in Unity Church 

avowed his disbelief in a God and Immortality. . . . His congregation has 
asked him to resign. 

It was this letter, I believe, which called forth Father s hymn. 
"Thou Man Divine, * which we often sang in the American Colony: 

O Jesus Christ, Thou Man Divine, 
Tis sweet to follow paths of Thine 
Where Thou by faith pursuing still 
Discerned the Living Father s will. 

Round Thee, as now a world s demands 
Pressed for some tribute at Thy hands; 
Some words, so bare conforming nod, 
Unswerving Thou didst follow God. 

Faith to Thy heart the time made known, 
To lay this world s employments down, 
And there at Jordan meet the word 
That sealed Thee Son-of-God and Lord. . . . 

This hymn of Father s proves how false Mr. Merrill s accusation 
was that we did not believe in the divinity of Christ. 

Our life in Palestine was busy and pleasant except for the anxiety 
about funds. 

Father realized that he could not look after his financial obligations 
from a distance of seven or eight thousand miles. From his letters I 


am convinced that had he not been taken ill, he would have returned 
to the United States, at least temporarily. He speaks longingly of his 
last years in America, but he loved his work in Jerusalem. He writes: 
"We came to Jerusalem to learn, and it has been a wonderful expe 

Father was taken ill the summer of 1888 and a change was con 
sidered beneficial to his health. There were few resorts to go to in 
those days, and our finances were so low that friends who owned a 
vineyard on the outskirts of Jerusalem allowed us to pitch tents there. 
Although Father was not well, he enjoyed the outing. He wrote in 
September to Mrs. Piazza Smith: 

I am writing you under a tent in the midst of a vineyard and fig orchard 
out on the top of the Hill Gareb, just outside Jerusalem. Here some of 
us have been camping for a week or two. I wish you and your husband 
were here to enjoy it with us. Six years ago I was walking on this same 
hilltop with a friend. The hilltop was perfectly bare, not a house upon it. 
Now there are more than five hundred houses, all solidly built of stone. 

I like to think that the last months of Father s life were so happy. 
But his fever grew worse and developed into malignant malaria, 
which is akin to the dreaded blackwater fever. Father came back to 
our home at the Damascus Gate from the camp on Gareb, and he 
never left it alive. In writing about his death I cannot do better than 
copy what I wrote about it a few years ago: 

My husband and I went to Saint George s Cathedral [in Jerusalem] to 
day, October 16, 1938. The old city is shut, almost besieged, perhaps for 
the first time in two thousand years. The gates have been shut by Arab 
rebels who are protesting against the increase of Zionist immigration. 
There is great tension in the air. The Anna Spafford Baby Nursing Home 
is still doing its work. Electric-light wires are cut by the rebels. So far 
the Anna Spafford Nursing Home telephone is intact. These are the condi 
tions under which I write. 

The sermon was on John II, verse 25. 

"And Jesus said [to Martha]: I am the resurrection and the life; he 
that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live.* " 

The chaplain spoke about how some lives attain their ideal, but with 
the inequality of life on this earth some people had opportunities, riches, 
talents, while others had none; other people were "world-weary" and 
looked forward to nothing but to be blotted out. They had struggled to 
get on, to provide for their families, to be honest, to succeed in business. 
They felt how far from ideal was their relation to their families, their 
friends, their superiors, their subordinates, and as they grew older their 
shortcomings overbalanced their accomplishments; they were only too glad 


to be "snuffed out," to become part of the ground. Yet a future life was 
part of the belief, creed, or religion of people from earliest times, varying 
in conception with different dates and civilizations. But the glories of the 
Christian conception of a future life were a realization of all that had 
been impossible here, in this life, and should be inbred in us from the 
earliest moment when our life of comprehension began. "We shall see 
Him face to face!" 

When the preacher got so far, I thought back over my own life. I 
thought how marvelously Mother had been able to instill just this view 
of the future life into us as children. 

When Father lay unconscious and apparently dying, I was ten 
years old. Father and Mother had given up their "all" truly to come 
to Jerusalem. Father was the strong and compelling spirit. On his 
shoulders rested the responsibility of life. Mother was the follower; 
Mother felt "he knew." He was her counsellor and best friend. To 
gether they had passed through many vicissitudes, dangers, sorrow, 
death, and calamity. Together they could face anything. Their love 
could rise above sorrow. As long as they had each other they were 
masters of every situation they had proved this. Now Mother, as 
she looked down on Father s unconscious and emaciated face, real 
ized that she must face the work, future sorrows, and whatever was 
ahead of her alone. I stood beside her; I was conscious of her strug 
gle. As she listened to the measured breathing that became more 
labored as time went on, and felt the declining strength of a pulse 
that was beating ever more irregularly, I could see she was being 
overwhelmed with anguish. But she must be worthy of this brave man 
her life s partner. Her stand, though alone now, must be so close 
to heaven that she must still feel him near her. 

She left the room and stood in the arbor, watching a waning moon 
rise red over the Mount of Olives. All was quiet, all was still not a 
leaf moved in that second spell of sirocco that sometimes comes in 
October, She lifted her breaking heart to God; she quoted Scripture, 
not knowing chapter or verse: "I will dance before the Lord," she 
said, from the Psalms, meaning she would do that which was the 
most difficult to do. In that phrase she expressed her determination 
not to give in to overwhelming sorrow. It lifted her above her nat 
ural inclination. It was the expression of her determination really to 
believe "I am the resurrection and the life." 

Nora was the only other person present. After a short absence, 
comforted and strengthened, Mother returned. Just at that moment 
Father opened his eyes, looked at Mother, and said; "Annie, I have 
experienced a great joy; I have seen wonderful things," and he tried 
to tell her, but weakness and unconsciousness overcame him, and he 
could speak no more. The end was very near. She turned to me and 


the nurse. "Bertha," she said, "stay with Father to the end. I must go 
away." It was only a short time, and I went to tell Mother. My sister 
Grace was with her, "He knows it all now," she said. "He has seen 
Him face to face. We must not sorrow like those who have not hope." 
She made me feel the truth of this, for she did not outwardly sorrow; 
she did not lament. I felt it was unworthy of her courage to cry. My 
heart was breaking, so I crept away from sight on the rampart wall, 
into one of the niches behind the house, and there I cried until my 
poor little heart broke. My sobs shook me; my sense of loss was al 
most too much for me. Father had been such a companion; we were 
such good friends, but my admiration for my mother was greater than 
all else at that moment. I felt that I must stand by her, so I dried my 

The superhuman effort Mother had made was too much for her; 
she had been ailing for a long time, and only Father s illness had kept 
her from giving way. But as the need of her ministration for him 
ceased, the strength she had long overtaxed snapped, and she went 
to bed with a high fever. Nor was she able to go with ns to the grave 
in the little American Cemetery on Mount Zion. 

Young as I was, I remember what a comfort it was to me to see 
the flag of the United States of America flying half-mast as we passed 
the Consulate. Our American Consul, Mr. Henry Oilman, was walk 
ing by my side and was holding my hand. 

In those days Jerusalem offered little that would be accounted as 
essential to a Western funeral. There was no flower shop; not a 
flower could be bought anywhere. So all wreaths were woven by 
friends, of flowers grown in private gardens. There was no hearse. 
It was a long way from the Damascus Gate to Mount Zion. The roads 
were unpaved and dusty. A long lumber wagon carried the casket 
made of rough pine planks and covered with black cloth. Mother had 
tried to cover up the ugly black sides with branches of the pepper 
tree, and I never smell its pungent fragrance without its carrying me 
back to that day. We were covered with dust as we walked behind 
the cart, and we entered the cemetery with the beautiful promise over 
the door: "Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life." 

The nurse met me as I returned. I wanted to rush to Mother s 
arms, but Mother was too ill to see Grace and me. A desolation came 
over me that seemed unbearable. 

For many long weeks after this Mother lay at death s door. I re 
member sitting quite unnoticed, looking at the faces of those entering 
and leaving the room and trying to discern a ray of hope in their 
expressions. After several weeks Mother felt she was not making the 
progress she hoped, and a bed was made in a large carriage and she 
was taken to Jaffa. Mr. and Mrs. Rolla Floyd made her a welcome 


guest. Mrs. Gould went with her and faithfully nursed her. Later she 
was invited to stay at the home of Baron and Baroness Ustinov in 
Jaffa, where she could sit in their beautiful garden and regain her 


Never shall I forget the ecstasy of joy when Mother returned to us, 
weak but recovered. 


AFTER Father s death life became more difficult, more beset 
with anxiety. Mother s long and severe illness cast a gloom over the 
household. It was many months before she was able to take an active 
part in the work. 

Another blow hit the Colony, and so soon after Father s death and 
Mother s illness that it was staggering. Captain Sylvester, who had 
suffered for years from angina pectoris, had an attack which proved 
fatal. He realized his serious condition, and as he was dying, asked 
his wife to lay him to rest beside the best friend he had ever had. 
That was next to Father in the American Cemetery. How little we 
knew then what complying with that request would mean to the 
American Colony later on. 

Two years later, in 1890, Mr. Drake died during an epidemic of 
the dreaded and then little-known influenza. 

Although cramped in finances and experiencing sickness and death, 
these were years free from external persecution. Our friend Mr, Oil 
man was still American Consul- 
It was soon after Father s death that Mr. Dwight L. Moody came 
to Jerusalem to visit. He came to caE on Mother. He held me with 
one arm as he sat on the divan with my sister Grace on his knee. He 
was disappointed not to have seen Father, and I remember that he 
was not ashamed to let the tears run down his cheeks. 

He held an open-air service on the top of Gordon s Calvary. Some 
one should have informed him, for he would never willingly have 
offended anyone if he had realized what he was doing. The top of 
the hill (Gordon s Calvary) is a Moslem cemetery. There were not 
many graves there at that time, and those that existed were in a rather 
neglected condition. In his enthusiasm and his utter abandon of 
thoughts other than on his sermon, he stood on an old grave that he 
might see his audience better. That incident so infuriated the Moslems 
that they forbade any Christian to enter the cemetery without a per 
mit, and as rapidly as funds were available they built the high wall 
all around thfe top of the hill. 
In 1889 Mr. W. E. Blackstone, who was Father s friend and asso- 


date in Chicago in the days when he and Mother were active in Mr. 
Moody s work, came to visit us with his daughter Flora. They were 
our guests at the American Colony, and Mother was very pleased to 
see them. 

Mr. Floyd conducted their party. They left February 4, going 
through the country on horseback, with a full camp equipment, to 

When Mr. Blackstone got back to his home in Oak Park, Illinois, 
he was interviewed by a Chicago reporter. He was asked about his 
visit to Jerusalem and about the Group who had started from Chicago 
eight years before. The interviewer asked: 

Q. "By what name are they known in Jerusalem?" 

A. "Simply as the Americans." 

Q. "How do they employ themselves?" 

A. "In works of charity and devotion. They are constantly engaged 
in feeding the hungry and nursing the sick. Their house is a sort of free 
hotel for everyone who needs shelter. Bedouins, Arabs, Jews, and all sorts 
of people drop in there and are kindly entertained. They hold gospel 
meetings. The singing at these meetings is the nearest to the Music of 
Heaven as any I ever heard. * 

Q. "Who attends these meetings?" 

A. "All sorts of people, including a great many Jews and Mohammed 
ans, and they join in the singing and evince a deep respect for the 

In that year, 1889, Benjamin Harrison, a Republican, defeated 
Grover Cleveland in the presidential elections and became President 
of the United States. 

With abated breath we read the news, and wondered if that would 
mean a change of consuls. We had had five years respite with Mr. 
Henry Oilman. We wondered whether Mr. Merrill would come back 
to Jerusalem. He did. In 1891 Mr. Merrill returned as Consul and 
renewed his attacks against us with greater determination. 

Letters and notes tell about the remarkable manner in which we 
were provided for during those years. One entry says, "No money, 
no bread, but sixty loaves of beautiful white bread arrived unex 
pectedly this P.M." Later we learned that a friend from Chicago who 
was in Jerusalem had sent the bread. About a week later is another 
entry: "Mr. Floyd sent us twenty loaves of bread and a large quarter 
of mutton." Again, "Butter came from Safid" (from the Eliahus very 
likely). "Monday will be Grace s birthday and we have no money to 
buy any cake or sweets. Later in the afternoon the grocer sent dibbis 
without being asked." 

Slaman, "the egg man," as we called him, who left eggs without 


being asked, became blind through trachoma, and the American 
Colony were able to help him for years until he died. 

Mr. Merrill was a D.D. and I notice that during his second term 
of office he was generally called Dr. Merrill, Dr. Merrill accused us 
of contracting debts under false representations. He stated that "we 
had not a dollar to pay them with." The origin of our indebtedness 
was feeding and housing the Gadites (Yemenites), and our money 
was stopped from coming to pay these debts through Dr. Merrill s 
intervention. That no suit for debt was ever instigated against us 
alone shows that no creditor ever seriously invoked the Consul s 

I am compelled to expatiate on this subject as an introduction to 
the chapters that follow* 

Dr. Merrill was interested in archaeology. He considered himself 
an authority, and wrote books and articles on the subject. 

He started excavations inside the wall of the American Cemetery 
and found ancient remains. To follow an ancient wall he disturbed 
the graves. 

We knew nothing of this until Aunt Maggie s death. 

On August 12, 1891, my aunt and Mrs. Sylvester went to call on 
a friend and were leisurely walking home along the "Back Road," 
now the Street of the Prophets, when Aunt Maggie said, "I m 
not feeling well," and fell to the ground. Friends carried her to the 
nearby Kamanitz Hotel 

The doctor s verdict was that Aunt Maggie had died instantly. 

In this hot country interment must follow death by a few hours. 
The funeral started from the Kamanitz Hotel the next day. 

Dr. Merrill had no warning of any illness among the members of 
the American Colony to prepare him for the news of a burial. When 
we took Aunt Maggie to the American Cemetery, I was horrified to 
see my father s coffin exposed and huge holes and trenches cutting 
across the cemetery. I gave one shriek at the horrible sight and 


DR. MERRILL S unrelenting attacks soon plunged us into another 
chapter in the Colony s history, "the strange episode of the Whiting 

I have never been able to relax over a detective story. I cannot 
read of villainy with amusement or interest, because, as a child, I 
knew what it was to fear the enmity of another human being. The 
American Consul in Jerusalem wrought seemingly endless harm 
against my father and mother and the American Colony, and al 
though my parents tried to keep this from us, I felt it keenly, and 
lived through many years of dread of this man who hated us, for a 
reason I could not understand. 

John C. Whiting and his family had come with us to Jerusalem 
with the consent and approbation of his mother, Mrs. Mary C. Whit 
ing of Springfield, Massachusetts. Her two brothers had since died, 
leaving a considerable estate to Mrs. Whiting, Sr., which was managed 
for her by a businessman who knew the intrinsic value of dollars and 
cents. From his point of view, John Whiting was an impractical 

John Whiting died on Sunday, December 5, 1886. What a sad day 
that was! As I write these lines the depression I felt then comes back 
to me. We children loved dear "Brother John." He was so gentle and 
kind. He never refused to make kites for us in the summer kite 
season, and taught us many useful things. Bookbinding was one, but 
I have sadly forgotten all he taught me about it. One thing remains, 
however, how to take care of books. 

Shortly after Mr. Whiting s death his mother died in America, 
leaving the business manager full and absolute discretion about in 
vestments and reinvestments of her estate, "In trust for the two chil 
dren of her son now deceased." Until John, the younger, reached the 
age of twenty-one, he was to use his discretion about the payment of 
the interest, or part of it, for the maintenance and education of John 
and Ruth, while Mrs. Whiting was not to receive anything unless she 
returned to the United States to live. 

Mrs. Whiting chose to remain in Jerusalem. The manager saw fit 
to send no money at all. Not a ripple of change occurred in their 


manner of living. Ruth and John were educated with the rest of us 
and shared everything. 

This was contrary to the plans of Mrs. Whiting s mother, Mrs. 
Regina Lingle, who was determined to bring her daughter and the 
children back to the United States. 

An unhappy incident gave Mrs. Lingle the opening she needed. 
It was provided by Nora, the girl Mother had brought from Chicago 
as nurse to Grace and me. 

Nora had long since ceased to be treated as other than a member 
of the household. She seemed sincere and devoted, and took her 
place with the others in nursing and teaching and in all the other 
activities of the Colony. Her letters to Mother when she happened 
to be away and to Aunt Rachel in Chicago are full of enthusiasm 
about the work and the happiness of her life. She called herself "Miss 
Spafford," and although she had never been adopted, as Rob and 
Jacob had, Mother let it slip by. 

Nora had been one of the most vocal in refuting Dr. Merrill s 

Now, instead of confiding in Mother, she left a note: 

Dear Mother, I must go, so say Good Bye to one and all I cannot 
look at you nor speak nor see Grace, so go now. I am going to Kamanitz 
Hotel to see if they will let me stay there for the present I cannot hear 
or say any more. It is between me and God. 

Mother went at once to the Kamanitz Hotel. She had no idea of 
the reason for Nora s leaving. The moment she arrived Nora made 
a confession that deeply disturbed Mother. 

Nora was in love with a Moslem. 

In these modern days one often finds hi Jerusalem a Moslem man 
married to a Christian girl or a Jewess and leading a normal and 
happy life, but it was unheard of then. Mother felt it was her duty to 
Nora to know how matters stood, so she sent for the young man, who 
came at once to the hotel. 

"Nora says she loves you," Mother told him, "and I want to know 
what your feelings and intentions are toward her." 

He answered, looking straight at Mother, "Nora knows that I am 
of noble birth and cannot marry her. She also is aware that I am an 
engaged man." 

He left after emphasizing that all his dealings with Nora had been 

Mother begged Nora to return to the Colony until we could raise 
enough money to send her back to her mother in Chicago. But Nora 
was deeply humiliated by having her carefully laid plans frustrated, 
and she refused to return. 


From that hour Nora s attitude toward Mother and the Colony 
changed. She felt certain that if Mother had not "meddled, * she 
would eventually have maneuvered the young man into marrying her. 

She did not tell people she had fallen in love with a Moslem. She 
explained her departure from the Colony by saying she had wanted 
to go to her mother in America. Presently she was saying Mother 
had prevented her going, by force. Then she hit on another means of 
revenge she went to Dr. Merrill and said that all his vile and numer 
ous reports against the American. Colony were true. 

Friends of the American Colony went to see Nora, and among 
others Mr. and Mrs. Rolla Floyd made a sworn statement, dated May 
21, 1893, to certify that Nora had sent for them to say she regretted 
her outburst and wished to retract, that she had never seen any im 
morality of the kind Dr. Merrill described in the Colony, that she 
had, in fact, seen no immorality and had always been treated with 
extreme kindness. 

Several months later Nora left for the United States. 

She had not completed her vengeful attacks against us; she went to 
Mrs. Lingle and told her that Mrs. Whiting, her daughter, was being 
held at the American Colony against her will. 

Mrs. Lingle, on her visit to us in Jerusalem, had known Nora as a 
trusted daughter of the household. Nora s change in attitude con- 
finned in her mind the worst of Dr, Merrill s tales. 

The result was a series of incidents that baffle comprehension. 
They could not have been possible, of course, had the American 
Consul not been unfriendly to the Colony, and possessed, under 
Turkish rule, with extraterritorial rights and capitulations to enforce 
almost unlimited power. 

One afternoon we were in the "sewing room" when Mrs. Whiting 
came in, quite excited, and said, "Just listen to this note that I re 
ceived from Dr. Merrill." 

She read aloud: 

"July 18, 1895 

There is a gentleman from America here who knows you and your 
friends in Chicago, and who would very much like to see you and your 
children. He cannot very well call upon you. This note will be given to 
you by one of, my kavasses, who will wait and return with you from the 
Damascus Gate. 

Yours sincerely, 
{signed) SELAH MERRILL." 

Mrs. Whiting finished reading, then she saicl, "It sounds like kid 


My sister Grace had never heard the word "kidnaping," and wanted 
it explained, which impressed the word and the incident on my mem 
ory. I also remember that the older people rather smiled over Mrs. 
Whiting s letter and could not believe it was so serious as she thought. 
She wrote a short answer, stating that if any person knew and wanted 
to see her, her home was the proper place for him to come. 

It seemed only a few moments until a man she had known in the 
United States as a family friend appeared at our door. Her notes had 
not gone to the Consulate but to him, where he was waiting below at 
the Damascus Gate, with a carriage and horses ready to drive her 
with her children straight to Jaffa. He acknowledged frankly that this 
had been his plan. 

He also said he had been in the city seven days with Consul Mer 
rill, contriving the best way to spirit her away from the American 
Colony, and that the sole purpose of his trip was to take her back to 
the United States. 

Mrs. Whiting s presentiment of kidnaping had not been wrong. 

She told him that she would follow the dictates of her conscience 
and remain in Jerusalem. 

The man stressed that a large estate was involved and that she and 
her children were the heirs, but the condition was that she must live 
in the United States. 

When he was convinced that he could not change her mind, he 
became so vehement in his abuse of the Colony that she could stand 
it no longer and asked her friends not to leave her alone with him. 

About six days after this the dragoman of the Consulate of the 
United States came with a kavass to the Colony and served a sum 
mons on Mrs. Whiting. The summons read: 

U.S. Consulate, Jerusalem 
August 5, 1893 


To Mary E. Whiting, residing in the Community known as the Spafford 
American Colony in Jerusalem. You, Mary E. Whiting, are hereby sum 
moned to appear in this Consulate at 3:00 clock this afternoon to attend 
to some important business. Your children Ruth and John must accom 
pany you. Gabriel Farwagy and the guard, Assad Kassas, will convey to 
you this summons as they are officers appointed to accompany you 
hither. Refusal on your part renders you liable to the penalties of the 


U.S. Consul 

Whom could she consult? One of the first-rank consul generals in 
Jerusalem was a friend of the Colony. From him she found out that 
the summons was illegal. She was advised to write an explanatory 


note. Before she returned, the dragoman came back with several men 
including a Turkish policeman to arrest her. 

We told him that Mrs. Whiting was not at home; we asked for his 
warrant. He had none, but said he had been instructed to search the 
house. We mentioned the fact that there were English subjects as well 
as Turkish in the house. He took no notice but searched. 

Seeing this utter disregard for law and decency, we sent a warning 
to Mrs. Whiting to stay at a friend s house that night. 

We had heard that several of the American staff from the Beirut 
College it was not then a university were in camp on the Mount 
of Olives. The college was then part of the mission, and as a little 
girl in Chicago my mother once went without butter, which she loved, 
for an entire year to save a contribution for the Presbyterian Board 
of Foreign Missions which was founding this particular mission. 

Five days later the same dragoman of the United States Consulate 
and the kavass reappeared and with them a stranger, who, we 
learned, was one of the teachers from Beirut. The dragoman had a 
warrant of arrest for Mrs. Whiting. This time he did not give it to 
her. Instantly half-a-dozen other men appeared. Four were from the 
American staff of the College of Beirut, sworn in as constables by 
the Consul. 

Mother tried to reason with them. 

One of them said, "Don t listen to her; she is the next one to be 
hauled out." 

Mrs. Whiting and her two children were taken under the escort of 
the American missionaries to the Grand New Hotel, where Dr. Mer 
rill and the man from the United States were stopping, and were 
locked in a bedroom. Some of the men of the Colony went along and 
heard the Consul sentence Mrs. Whiting and her children to twenty- 
four hours imprisonment for contempt of court, making the visitor 
her jailor and one of the Beirut missionaries her guard. Mrs. Whiting 
appointed Mr. Rudy her counsel. 

The next day when he went to the hotel to bring her home, the 
twenty-four hours having expired, Mr. Rudy was told that she had 
been delivered over to the emissary for an "indefinite period" until 
he was convinced that she was not being kept in the Colony by com 
pulsion. Mr. Rudy asked for a copy of the charges, but Dr. Merrill 
refused to give them. 

Where could we look for redress? I suppose if we had had money, 
the most natural act would have been to employ a lawyer. Even that 
would have been of little use. In Turkish times Americans had 
consular courts. Dr. Merrill would have been our judge. But we had 
no money. What were we to do now? We wanted to telegraph to the 
American Embassy in Constantinople and cable to Washington. I 


learned later that the cost of the two telegrams was obtained from 
the sale of Brother Jacob s watch. 

I have good reason to remember the Whiting affair, for I was help 
ing to nurse a Moslem and her child through a bad attack of con 
junctivitis. I began helping to nurse early. I wished to be part of the 
work, and the need was always great. I loved nursing, and look back 
on my youth with happiness, although it might seem strange com 
pared with girlhood in America. We were congenial in the Colony, 
and one felt safe there and secure, and we were always busy. No 
matter how money difficulties might loom, we spoke very little of 
such things. We were happy together and in the work we were doing. 

On this occasion I had sat up all night, frequently applying com 
presses to the eyes of the child and the mother. Conjunctivitis is very 
painful. When morning came I was to be relieved, but no one arrived 
from the Colony to take my place. I was sure something serious had 
happened at the Colony, because it was so unusual not to be relieved 
at the proper time when nursing. About noon I could bear it no 
longer and left my patients to learn what had happened. I found 
everyone in the Colony absorbed in the problem of how to help Mrs. 

Mrs. Whiting, Ruth, and John were still being held in the Grand 
New Hotel. 

Dr. Merrill threatened to send out his kavass with a horsewhip 
to be used on Mr. Rudy or any other member of the Colony who 
came anywhere near the hotel. 

All the American citizens in the Colony signed a petition request 
ing Dr. Merrill to issue a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of Mrs. 
Whiting and her children. 

Dr. Merrill refused to receive the application. 

We knew that an answer to our telegrams to Consul GeneraLHess 
in Constantinople arrived, as well as one from Washington, because 
we received the following telegram: 


Mrs. Whiting, Ruth, and John were released the same afternoon. 
What rejoicings there were that day at the American Colony! We all 
went down to the Damascus Gate to meet them, and they made a 
triumphal entry. 

Mrs. Whiting said that when the man from America, who had been 
their jailor, knew his mission had failed, he told her that she had not 
heard the end: that he would go to the length of stigmatizing her with 
living an immoral life or accuse her of being demented, but he would 
still get her children away from her. Those were his farewell words 
upon leaving Jerusalem. 


We filed a complaint against the treatment received at Dr. Merrill s 
hands, addressing it to the Secretary of State, Walter Q. Gresham. 
We accused Dr. Merrill of conducting a long-continued religious per 
secution against us, maligning the Group, and circulating derogatory 
insinuations that could be interpreted as damaging character. We 
accused him of advising those in America who had our money in 
their hands to withhold it from us, and when he succeeded, because 
our rightful funds were withheld, and we got into debt, he incited 
our creditors to proceed against us by legal actions at his consulate. 

We further accused him of illegally summoning one of our number 
with her minor children, and finally imprisoning her without charge 
and refusing those imprisoned a legal hearing or interview with their 
counsel or legal advisers, or the right to habeas corpus or the right to 
communicate with the Consul General at Constantinople to appeal 
for his decision, and refusing to allow any of us to see the consular 
record and papers of the case, although allowing others to see them. 

We demanded an investigation. 

On December 11, 1893, Mrs. Whiting received through Dr. 
Merrill a citation from the Probate Court of Hampden County, 
Massachusetts, to appear at Springfield on the "first Wednesday of 
February next to show cause why some other suitable person should 
not be appointed guardian to the minor children Ruth and John 
Whiting, and the guardian be decreed the custody of the persons of 
the minors, for that she, their mother, was unfit to have such custody." 
This time the children were not summoned. 

Mrs. Whiting requested that the proceedings be held in Jerusalem, 
where she was widely respected and loved. This was refused. She 
knew by the visitor s last words what her antagonists were going to- try 
to prove against her. Mrs. Whiting decided to go alone. 

Dr. Merrill was furious when he learned that she was going to 
America without the children. He wrote to Mrs. Whiting, "Tell Mrs. 
Spafford in as stormy language as you please that if anything happens 
to those children of yours she may be held responsible, as they are 
in her house." 

Mrs. Gould decided to go to America with Mrs. Whiting and re 
lease her own money. Jacob went with them. He had never been to 
the United States before. Much responsibility had fallen on his shoul 
ders since the death of Father, Captain Sylvester, and Mr. Drake. It 
was considered advisable by the Group that he should accompany 

We knew that Consul Merrill was holding money for Mrs. Gould 
and Mrs. Whiting in case they wanted to return to America. 

I have in my possession a curious assemblage of notes, all written 


on the same day, that indicate the petty activities of Dr. Merrill. He 
was treating Mrs. Gould and Mrs. Whiting like idiots. "Certainly I 
shall not give you a check for outfits," he wrote in one note. "People 
do not get outfits in Jerusalem when they go directly to England and 

These slips of paper, signed Selah Merrill, are all dated January 
15, 1894. They are addressed to Mrs. Gould and Mrs. Whiting, who 
were sitting in his outer office at the Consulate. They, in turn, wrote 
their requests and sent them into his inner office. He refused to see or 
speak to them. 

As I remember it, they finally borrowed money for their passage to 
the United States. 

Just as they were about to leave we heard the amazing news that 
Dr. Merrill was recalled. He, too, prepared to leave for the United 

It was soon apparent that the investigation we had so long hoped 
for was not to be granted, at least not then. Evidently the authorities 
in Washington considered the fact that the Consul being changed 
was sufficient reason to stop the Colony s demand for an investigation. 

A letter was addressed to President Grover Cleveland, appealing 
against the apparent decision that as a successor had been appointed 
to Dr. Merrill there was no need for an investigation of his conduct. 
The Group was still pressing for an investigation. Our hopes that 
the change in consuls would bring about an improvement were also 
dashed, for Dr. Merrill s successor, Mr. Edwin Wallace, arrived in 
Jerusalem to assume his office as American Consul before Mrs. 
Whiting and Mrs. Gould left for the United States. Mr. Wallace did 
not enter upon his duties of office for several weeks, and in the 
meantime Dr. Merrill remained in office. 

During this interval Mrs. Whiting was preparing testimony and 
replies to the citation from the Probate Court in Springfield, Massa 
chusetts. She appealed to Dr. Merrill, since he was still in office, to 
take a number of depositions as to her normal character and for him- 
self to nominate physicians to give testimony as to sanity. 

He refused to do either. 

She then appealed to Mr. Wallace, and he readily agreed to 
nominate physicians and write a letter stating the facts leading up to 
her case. He also promised to confirm his nomination of physicians 
as soon as he took office. 

When she went back, as soon as he became Consul, to have this 
done, his reception of her indicated that in the meantime he had been 
prejudiced against her and against the American Colony. 

The whole of Jerusalem, with a few possible exceptions, would 
gladly have testified for Mrs. Whiting. 


Many prominent people volunteered to bear witness for her and 
the Colony from among Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans of 
Jerusalem, including high government officials, high military officers, 
physicians, directors of schools, and others, but neither of the Consuls 
would accept any of them. 

On January 18, 1894, Mrs. Whiting, Mrs. Gould, and Jacob sailed 
from Jaffa, where they had gone, from Jerusalem, on the new railroad. 

For years there had been talk about building a railroad between 
Jerusalem and the seaport of Jaffa. A Greek civil engineer by the name 
of Mr. Frangia was employed by the Turkish Government to work 
out the plans. It was Mr. Frangia who laid out all the carriage roads 
in Palestine at the time, the roads to Jaffa, Hebron, and Jericho. The 
road to Haifa was started but not completed until many years later. 
These roads were built by forced labor. In 1892 the narrow-gauge 
railroad between Jerusalem and Jaffa was completed. It was the only 
railroad in Palestine and about thirty-eight miles in length. 

Its opening was a gala affair in Jerusalem. The European-styled 
stations were beflagged, and Turkish officials, foreign consuls, church 
dignitaries, and Arab notables were invited to see the first train arrive 
from Jaffa. The guests were entertained at luncheon in a huge 
Egyptian tent with the usual gorgeous arabesque patchwork lining, 
which in itself is decoration enough for any occasion. The ever- 
present military band blared oriental discords and almost unrecogniz 
able European tunes. It was all very gay and the populace was duly 
impressed. After this there was a daily train each way, which took 
between four and five hours to travel the thirty-odd miles. 

About a month after this Mother, Grace, and myself with Flora and 
Gertie, older children from the Colony, were visiting the Floyds in 
Jaffa. Most of the ships that stopped at Jaffa were tramp steamers, 
but while we were there a large steamer called, and Mrs. Floyd thought 
we young folks might like to go aboard. Grace and I had not traveled 
by sea since we came from America and did not remember much 
about it, so we were delighted. One of Mr. Floyd s dragomans, who 
had an errand on the ship, took us aboard. 

Embarking at Jaffa was an exciting experience. There was still no 
port there. Steamers anchored two or three miles from shore, and large 
rowboats took passengers to and fro. Jaffa boatmen were renowned 
for their bravery and skill in controlling the large boats. Rowing, 
they sang in unison, and when our boat reached the opening in the 
forbidding circle of rocks, to which, according to legend, Andromeda 
had been chained, they waited with eyes fixed on their captain, watch 
ing for his signal to put all their strength into the exact second that 
shot the heavy boat through the narrow rock channel and into the 
opea sea. 


When we reached the steamer the dragoman went off to perform 
his errand, and we were left on deck to amuse ourselves. There on 
deck was Dr. Merrill. He was on his way home, recalled from 
Jerusalem, and the fact that he blamed the American Colony for his 
dismissal was sufficient proof to us that our charges had been heard. 
He saw us, just as we recognized him, and came to us at once. 

"Where are you going? To America?" 

Flora answered that we had only come out to see the steamer. 

Dr. Merrill said, "That wicked Mrs. Spafiord hates and curses me. 
Don t you believe that they will ever get their money! They will not. 
Mrs. Gould will not get a cent of it. That wicked Jew Eliahu [he meant 
Jacob], what is he going to America for? He is nothing but a Turk. 
Who would listen to such a wicked fool?" 

He raved on, slandering Mother, the Colony, the life we lived, 
accusing us all of immorality. 

"Mrs. SpaSord is a liar, she is a bad, wicked woman, but who is 
this?" He had turned to me. "Is this a Spaf-Spaf-Spafiord?" He could 
scarcely speak, and he spat the name at me. 

I spoke then. "Dr. Merrill, I ask you to stop talking. If you were a 
gentleman you would not talk like that." 

We all got up and moved away, but he followed us over the deck. 

"I can come here and talk just as well as there!" he shouted. "You 
think you will last, but I tell you, you have only a month, or five at 
most, to continue. Mrs. SpaflEord has got me out of Palestine, but I am 
coming back! I am coming back! Look at the beautiful weather and 
calm sea. Doesn t that show God is with me? When your people left 
for the United States the sea was raging and the wind howling." 

Dr. Merrill was raving like a madman. We could not bear it. Grace 
began to cry, and we all followed suit. 

Mother wrote in a letter from Jaffa, dated February 21, 1894: 

The girls returned from their excursion to the steamer with red eyes. 
I asked them what the matter was and they explained that Dr. Merrill had 
given them a farewell salute. What the poor girls went through was 
simply shocking. 

Dr. Merrill kept his promise to return. Four years later the Re 
publicans were in again and Dr. Merrill was back in his post at Jeru 
salem, more venomous against us than before. 

It was during these trying days of anxiety that I first met the young 
man who was to become my husband. Rather, we had met as children, 
but did not remember each other. It was August, during the Greek 
Orthodox Feast of Our Lady Mary. In those days the Greek and Arab 
Orthodox Christian Community camped for a week prior to the feast 


on the slopes of Olivet, near the church over the Tomb of the Virgin, 
and it was a pretty sight to watch the campfires in the evening as they 
prepared their evening meal. Those were the carefree days in Palestine,, 
when people had little money but could buy things with it. The eight 
days of picnic and pleasure culminated in the service in the church to 
which the Orthodox Patriarch and his clergy went in great pomp. 

In the afternoon the Greek Patriarch held a reception, with music. 
To the unaccustomed ear the sound was uncanny. First one brass 
Instrument then another would screech discords, while the whole 
band was droning in monotonous minor strains something that they 
called "mosika." The drum gave its full share to the noise. When the 
different consuls or their representatives appeared to pay their re 
spects to the Patriarch, the attempt at playing the respective national 
anthems was quite fantastic. The "Star-Spangled Banner" baffled the 
bandmaster, so he resorted to playing "Yankee Doodle * or "Old 
Black Joe.** Turkish coffee and sweetmeats were served to the guests. 

We were returning from the reception when we were overtaken by 
our friends the Vesters. Frederick Vester had just returned from 
Switzerland, having completed his education there as well as his com 
pulsory military service to Germany. His parents were German-Swiss 
missionaries in Jerusalem, and they and their daughters were good 
friends of ours. We walked home together, and that sealed our fate. 
For about a year we met frequently at each other s homes, and then 
Mother began to get anxious about this friendship. She felt that I 
should see men of my own country and get acquainted with my father s 
and friends before I should think seriously of marriage. 

The following August Mother found means to take Grace and me 
to America. 

1 was only sixteen, and Mother did the right thing in taking me 
away. But my country had no temptations for me in a romantic sense. 
Money, position, and family held no allurement. 

Mm. Whiting, Mrs. Gould, and Jacob were already in. the United 
States. Mrs. Gould s money was released. The case against Mrs. 
Whiting was dropped, since the children were not with her. 

When Mother decided to visit America, Mrs. Whiting asked her to 
bring Ruth and John along. She thought the danger of having the 
children removed from her custody was past Mr. Rudy went with us 
is the children* s guardian. 

In Chicago we rented a house on the west side. It was one of those 
sapi-detadied, two-story-and-basement, inconvenient houses so popu 
lar in those days. There was a bit of back yard, where the washing 
hmg to dry and nothing grew. The view from the windows was 
a long line of front doors and stoops looking just alike, with the same 
wcMteotoral Ike of houses on the other side of the street This we had 


exchanged for the magnificent view from our housetop, the highest 
point in the old city of Jerusalem, where we looked down on historic 
buildings so close together that one could not pick out the streets; 
then, looking the other way, to the hills around Jerusalem and the 
mountains of Moab. 

We children hated 1084 West Monroe Street. The noise of the 
trolley cars distracted and annoyed us. Nothing came up to our ex 
pectations. I was homesick for Frederick and Jerusalem. 

In May 1895 Mrs. Lingle and her representative renewed their 
suit to try to appoint a guardian and deprive Mrs. Whiting of the 
custody of her children. Where and to whom should we turn for ad 
vice? Mr. Rudy thought of Mr. Luther Laflin Mills, once State s 
Attorney for Illinois. They had been friends in the old days. Mrs. 
Whiting, Mother, Mrs. Gould, and Mr. Rudy went to see Mr. Mills 
and told him the whole story. They did not dare to hope that he would 
defend Mrs. Whiting, they simply went to him for advice and to ask 
him to suggest someone who could. Mr. Mills listened to the long 
tale of woe. He had been an admirer of Father and knew a great 
deal about his work in the legal field. Then he said, "It is a religious 
persecution in this land of religious freedom, and I will fight the case 
free of charge." 

The case, presumably against Mrs. Whiting, was virtually against 
the American Colony. 

The Chicago papers during the days of the trial had many articles 
about the case. Most of them ridiculed the Colony; some were abusive, 
and a few got facts more or less correct. Such headlines as "Mrs. 
Lingle Drags Spafford Colonists into Court"; "Mrs. Regina Lingle pe 
titions to have a guardian appointed for her grandchildren Ruth and 
John Whiting"; "Hearing in the Probate Court This Afternoon," et 

Mrs. Lingle s chief witness was Nora. She was brought to testify 
as to the immoral character of the Colony, but failed. In her cross- 
examination she said that people of the Colony were good and had 
done many good works in Jerusalem. 

We all had to testify. Poor Mother was kept on the witness stand 
for hours. An attorney for the prosecution cross-questioned her about 
her religious belief. Her answers were so straightforward, so simple, 
that he thought he could get her to admit some of the accusations 
brought against her by her accusers. 

Yes, she believed in the divinity of Christ. 

"Do you receive direct communications from God?" 

This question was asked in a hundred different ways. Mother never 
veered from her point; she said, "As a Christian who believes in 


prayer, I believe God can lead and direct, but I claim no special or 
unique power." 

"You were not with your husband when he died," the attorney flung 
at her. Mother said she had been with Father until a few minutes 

"And," the lawyer pursued, "I believe you danced when you heard 
he was dead." 

I remember this moment well, because I noticed the anguish that 
passed over Mother s face. She looked straight at Nora as she 
answered, "Not in the manner you imply." I remember, too, that at 
this point Mr. Mills, our advocate, intervened. 

Dr. Merrill declined to appear on the witness stand, but sent a 
deposition which was read. He charged that "Mrs. Spafford had 
hypnotic influence over the Colonists, and that we obtained goods 
under false pretenses, claiming that we were to receive money from 
America." Dr. Merrill said the Colonists all lived together in several 
large houses in a manner which could arouse suspicion. He said our 
manner of living without actual work was "disgraceful and criminal." 
At the end of his affidavit he admitted that he had never been inside 
the premises of the "so-called American Colony"; that what he wrote 
he had heard people say. 

Another affidavit was from Mr. Henry Oilman, who had followed 
Dr. Merrill as Consul after his first term. He said that he had been a 
constant visitor to the American Colony; he had studied the Colony 
and knew that the life of its members was above reproach. This affi 
davit mysteriously disappeared from its place among the court records 
and could not be found; it was never returned, but the fact that it 
was lost by the opposition was evidence in our favor. Other laudatory 
testimony was given in our behalf. 

Judge Kohlsaat heard the case in the Probate Court room. Much 
interest was aroused; it was something new in law and ethics, because 
it involved the point as to whether or not two children could be taken 
away from their mother because of the mother s religious belief. The 
accusers failed, however, to prove anything peculiar in her theology. 
Another matter in which the court was called upon to deliver an 
opinion was embodied in the petition of Mrs. Regina Lingle to have 
the guardianship of her daughter s two children removed from their 
mother, Mrs. Mary E. Whiting, on the ground that they were being 
brought up in the American Colony in Jerusalem, where the moral 
atmosphere was not of the right sort for children to live in. This also 
they failed to prove. 

Dr, Merrill had said in his deposition that we did not have enough 
to at, that "the children had only cracked wheat, bread, and oranges." 
I remember the ripple of laughter that went round the courtroom when 


Ruth, John, and I were called to the witness stand to testify. Both 
Ruth and John were robust children and I weighed a hundred and 
fifty pounds at seventeen, the most I have ever weighed in all my 

Judge Kohlsaat dismissed the petition filed by Mrs. Lingje before 
Mr. Mills had time to sum up his case. 

Ruth and John got no money at the time, but that was not what the 
fight was over as far as Mrs. Whiting was concerned. She had the 
custody of her children; she had won! 

The Chicago papers announced: "Colony a Winner." 


WHILE the case was being conducted in Chicago the news 
papers wrote such sensational articles attributing fantastic beliefs and 
practices to the American Colony that a great deal of attention was 
turned upon us. 

A small group of Swedish people were living on the south side of 
Chicago. They had no peculiar religious belief; they were simple, pious 
fundamentalists. They owned some property on which they built 
a chapel where they held their gospel meetings. There were about 
thirty members in the group, including seven children. The majority 
were women. To support themselves these women went out in 
domestic service. They brought their earnings to their leader. His home 
was considered their home, and whenever they were out of a job 
or had a day off, or during their holidays, they came to* his house and 
family as they would to their own. 

A strong character among them was Miss Matilda Holmstrum. 
"Sister Tilly," as we soon learned to call her, read the derogatory 
articles about the Colony in the Chicago papers, but she had dis 
cerned that the truth lay between the lines. She hoped she had found 
what she and her associates had been looking for. 

They were simple Swedish folk, most of them peasants. A few had 
taken out American citizenship, but the majority were still Swedish 
subjects. Mother and I had met a number of them serving as cooks, 
waitresses, and housemaids in the homes of our friends, where they 
were loved and respected by their employers for their honesty 
and integrity. During the two years of our sojourn in the United States 
a number of people had joined us. There was a family of farmers 
from Kansas, a Polish-American couple, and others. Two sisters and 
the daughter of one who had been affiliated to the first group before 
they left Chicago in 1881 now wanted to go to Jerusalem with us. 
They could barely pay their fare; but to Mother, with her big heart, 
ibis made no difference. 

When at last there was no valid reason for our remaining in the 
United States any longer, all these people expressed their desire, 
Bay, detenmnation, to return with us. This news came as a shock. It 


was a severe test of faith. The Group felt they had no right to refuse 
any who wanted to devote their life to the work we were doing in 
Jerusalem. However, Mr. Rudy, upon whose shoulders rested the 
financial responsibility, advised delay until they had well counted the 
cost. Our life in Jerusalem was one of self-denial. We were often with 
out things to which the members of the Swedish community were ac 
customed. But we found, to our amazement, that they had already put 
their property up for sale and were making all arrangements to go 
with us to Jerusalem. 

When, finally, our party was made up it consisted of seventy-seven 
souls. Twenty-five were children, among whom were several babies 
in arms. Mr. Rudy consulted Henry Gaza and Son, Ltd., Universal 
Tourist agents, and a small freight steamer was chartered to take us 
across the Atlantic to Liverpool. There the company was trans 
shipped to another freighter, which brought us to Jaffa. 

The cordial welcome the enlarged group got from those left behind 
in Jerusalem was a gratification and surprise to the new members. 
Arabs and Jews came to the house in crowds to welcome us back and 
to welcome the newcomers. I was in seventh heaven to be near 
Frederick again, While I was in America, Frederick had become a 
member of the American Colony. 

We realized that it would be quite impossible for us to be married 
under present conditions. We were for the good of the Colony as a 
whole. Before arranging for ourselves, all the new members would 
have to be settled into the home and new ways of employment found 
to support them. The new group had not added substantially to the 
finances of the Colony. The greatest economy would have to be 
practiced. Frederick s training in banking and business proved useful. 

The most urgent need was more living space. Our house in the old 
city, although enlarged by renting additional space in the vicinity, was 
still too small to hold the newcomers. The present American Colony 
happened to be untenanted. It needed much repair. Since Rabbah 
Effendi s death his palace had been roughly used. It was large, and on 
this account difficult to lease, but it was exactly what we needed. 
We rented it at once. Nearly all the rooms were enormous and sur 
rounded a beautiful open court. Rabbah Effendi had lived a patriarchal 
life there surrounded by his four wives and other relatives, retainers, 
and servants. 

From Hadj Raghib and his son, therefore, we rented the present 
American Colony building in Sheik Jarah Quarter near the Kedron 
Valley, sometimes called the Valley of Jehoshaphat, Renting property 
in Palestine is not such an easy matter as it sounds. Innumerable 
heirs who have inherited bits and pieces all have to receive their 
share of the rent and sign the lease. Later, when we finally bougfct 


the property, we went through the same procedure. Every bit pur 
chased increased the nuisance value of the unbought. The last two 
shares, from the Mufti of Jerusalem and his brother, whose mother had 
been Rabbah Effendi s fourth wife before she married the Mufti s 
father, were acquired at an exorbitant price. In Turkish times all 
property was divided into twenty-four shares or "carats." From the 
Arabic we get the expression "twenty-four carats," denoting pure 

We also retained the old house. 

Our enlarged group had just got settled in the new home when a 
number of Swedish farmers from Nos in the county of Dalana, 
Sweden, who were affiliated to the Chicago Swedish group, wrote, 
saying that they had decided to sell their farms and join their co 
religionists in Jerusalem. If those joining us in Chicago had been a 
test of faith, this was a far greater test. It was decided that their 
former leader and Jacob should go at once to Sweden and advise 
them to remain where they were. These dear people were so 
enthusiastic about the idea of going to the Holy Land, however, that 
they would accept no advice to the contrary. Some of them were old, 
a few were ill. These were the most enthusiastic of all to come to 
Palestine. No advice, no warning deterred them from their resolute 
determination. Lest something should interfere with their cherished 
plan, they sold their farms with such haste that they did not get the 
best price. 

There were thirty-eight in all, counting seventeen children, one a 
babe in arms. 

Their friends and neighbors thought them crazy to undertake such 
a journey into what was to them "the unknown." They were sure 
they would be left stranded after their money was used up. When no 
persuasion to the contrary availed, Jacob went to Goteborg to arrange 
for their passage. These simple country people brought their hand 
looms, knitting machines, and many farm implements with them. 
They sailed July 23, 1896, singing "We re Marching to Zion," and 
arrived in Jaffa in August at the height of a Palestinian summer. The 
sunlight was dazzling, the dust choking, the heat exceptional, but here 
was abundant fruit, which was scarce in their land. Jacob kindly but 
not wisely ordered every fruit then in season for their first lunch at the 
Jaffa Hotel, and they ate abundantly. They learned that they had to 
eat fruit with discretion. 

The courage of these people was remarkable. They came to a strange 
country of strange customs. There was nothing to remind them of 
home. They must often have been lonely and homesick, but they 
never made us conscious of it. They lived in stone houses with stone 
floors. I don t suppose they had ever seen such structures. 


Few of them could speak a word of English. Our morning Bible 
readings were translated into Swedish. Jacob, with his oriental aptitude 
for learning languages, soon picked up enough Swedish to converse 
freely with them. 

They were accustomed to bake bread once a year, the hard, thin 
cakes of rye bread with a hole in the middle through which ropes were 
strung and then suspended from the ceiling. From this store they had 
helped themselves as the need arose. In the Colony we baked wheat 
bread every day. We thought our bread was delicious, but to them it 
was distasteful. They loathed the smell of it. Did they complain? Not 
a bit. I only heard this fact and realized what they must have gone 
through years later, when they had learned to like our bread as much 
as we did, and could talk and laugh about their past experiences. The 
old people among this group studied English diligently, the young went 
to the Colony school, and soon we were able to stumble along to 
gether in broken English and broken Swedish. We learned to sing 
many of their lovely Swedish hymns, and we became a bilingual 

There were several acres of vineyard north of the house running 
down to the Kedron Valley. Our Swedish farmers started on this to 
create a farm. 

The looms and knitting machine were set up, and cloth woven for 
tablecloths. Weaving in all sorts of cotton and linen thread was tried, 
and the patterns were lovely. For many years we never bought table 
linen. It was all woven at the Colony. They wove material for 
furniture coverings that was beautiful. They even wove tweed for 
suits for our men out of native white-and-black lambs wool. The 
mayor of Jerusalem, Hassain Effendi el Husseini, wore a suit made 
from this material for many years. Its durability was everlasting. My 
sister Grace carded, spun, and wove herself enough material for a 

Other industries were started, and little by little, with diligence, 
the Colony emerged from poverty. 

There were a few drones. There always are in such a community. It 
would be strange indeed if all the people who joined the Colony in 
this impulsive and non-selective manner had turned out to be what 
they represented themselves as being. One old Chicago couple were 
particularly troublesome. 

In about a year they decided to leave the Colony. They com 
plained to the Consul that they had contributed considerable funds. In 
fact the amount received from them after six months amounted to 
only one hundred and eighty dollars. 

There were several other cases of misfits and malcontents, but 
these are typical. 


The addition of so many new members without a corresponding 
addition to the financial situation was serious. Mother wrote: 

Our family is very large. Many times larger than it ever was before, 
and consequently my cares are much greater. We number about one 
hundred and thirty, and forty of this number are children. 

The Mohammedans and Jews are most kind to us. When we arrived 
back from the United States one of them gave us a horse, another 
killed a cow and sent us the whole of it. Others sent us bags of rice and 
charcoal. Another gave us olives from twenty-seven trees. These olives 
we have pickled and put up for the winter. Where we can, we return 
their kindness. We nurse their sick and teach their children. There are 
many ways in which we can help them. 

It might seem that the life in the Colony was dour, overburdened 
by problems, and blighted by persecution. But that was not so. The 
incidents I have chronicled happened many of them were tragic 
but the atmosphere of the Colony was happy, the aura reverential and 
devout. Need was the incentive that put every bit of accumulated 
knowledge to work and every talent to use. To carding, spinning, and 
weaving we added a knitting machine, which made woolen and cotton 
underwear, socks, stockings, sweaters, and jerseys. 

The flock of goats, which was our first venture, was dispensed with, 
and cows were installed. 

In the early days, when we got our own flock of goats, our milk 
man s old shepherd Hassain took our flock to pasture. Hassain came 
from the village of Mukhmas, north of Jerusalem, the scene of one of 
the thrilling episodes in Old Testament history. Its strategical posi 
tion commanded the north side of the Pass of Mukhmas which was 
the headquarters of the Philistines and center of their raids against 
the Israelites in their attempts to subdue the rising under Saul. 
Jonathan and his armor-bearer held the pass alone, took the Philistines 
by surprise, and won a decisive victory. 

Hassain claimed to remember the invasion of Palestine by Ibrahim 
Pasha of Egypt. If that was true, and there was no way of checking 
the validity of his statement, he must have been very near his 
centenary. From years of leading sheep and goats to pasture he had 
acquired a robust physique. From playing the shepherd s pipe his 
fingers were bent and rigid in a flute-player s position. 

Now we exchanged the flock for a herd, and Hassain had no more 
work, so he was cared for by the Colony for more than fifteen years, 
until his death. 

We started a bakery and supplied Jerusalem with pies and cakes. 
Jams and preserves were another branch. The American Colony con 
fectionery became famous. The shoemaking, tailoring, and dressmak 
ing departments were kept busy. The school, which was greatly en- 


larged by the children of the new-members^and swelled by the children 
of Jerusalem residents, was under the able management of Mr. John 
E. Dinsmore, who was principal of a seminary in Maine before he 
came to Jerusalem. 

The old vineyard to the north of the Colony buildings became a 
productive farm. 

Mrs. Gould in a letter gave some "home news": 

About the farm the olive trees have been pruned. What with Ismain s 
and Hussain s ground, which we have rented, we shall probably have 
sufficient olives, not only to eat but to make oil, which will help us greatly 
with our expenses, as well as the barley and wheat crops and potatoes, all 
of which are doing well. 

Our Swedish and American farmers had tilled these bits of ground 
so well that there was evidence of excellent crops. Some Orthodox 
Jews came to inspect the wheat and offered us a higher than usual 
price for it to make matzoth (unleavened bread) for their Feast of 
the Passover on condition that we harvested it under their super 
vision. We agreed. 

We had no machinery; it was harvested by hand. One stipulation 
they made was that we should not begin ^vork until the sun had risen 
and dried any moisture from dew fallen during the night. After 
breakfast we all went out to work in the field, our Jewish over 
seers keeping watch. As our custom was when working, washing 
dishes, or over the washtub, or at any other task, we sang hymns. So 
now we started in the harvest field. Singing helped the work, which 
went with a swing. But we were not allowed to sing by these Orthodox 
Jews. Peradventure a bit of moisture might fall from our mouths and 
cause fermentation. It would no longer be unleavened. 

So we gathered the sheaves silently. 

We were accustomed to rising early and working hard. The rising 
bell rang at 6:30 A.M. in the American Colony, and breakfast was 
served at seven. All who could manage it helped with the dishes, and 
we sang as we worked. Dishwashing time offered the place and op 
portunity to practice new hymns and songs. At eight another bell rang, 
and we gathered in the large upper living room for morning prayers. 

By nine or a little after we were all dispersed to our different 
departments and work. 

We had a healthy social life as well. All the consular corps in 
Jerusalem, with the exception of our own, were our friends, as well 
as the Arab and Jewish communities. We attended teas and recep 
tions and gave them in return. Mother wrote: 

This afternoon Bertha and the young people are giving a party on the 
housetop, or rather the roof of our dining rooms. About thirty ladies and 


gentlemen are invited. They will have music and drills for the entertain 
ment. People like to come to our house. 

The young people of the Colony had a literary club, an art club, 
choir, and band. People outside the Colony joined all our activities. 
Sunday afternoon there was a service at 3 P.M. followed by a social 
hour. The choir sang, the band played, tea and coffee and coffee bread 
were served. As many as thirty or forty people would visit the Colony 
on Sunday afternoon. In the tourist season whole parties would come 
to visit the Colony. The hymn singing, which followed as daylight 
waned and the lamps were lighted, was popular. Often a number of 
guests remained for supper. There were not many attractions in Jeru 
salem in those days before World War I. The American Colony filled 
the place of a Y.M.C.A. 

In another letter Mrs. Gould told of Christmas and "the usual 
beautiful gifts from our Mohammedan friends." 

Many of these gifts were payments in kind for the education of 
their children and for nursing their sick; others were simply Christmas 

Ahmed Effendi sent a sheep; Sheik Mohammed a basket of rice, the 
same came from the Mayor of Jerusalem, two turkeys from Hussain, two 
ducks and two geese and four baskets of oranges from Faidi Effendi al 
Alami. From others (I can t remember the names) we got four trays of 
"buklaway * (Arabic sweetmeat), one tray of geribi (like Scotch short 
bread) , one tray of "mamoul" and another of "Karabidj Halab" (whips of 
Aleppo a delicious sweetmeat). Suliman sent a large tray of candy 
for the tree. A beautiful large tree came from Mr. Baldensperger, and 
many other gifts which I cannot remember. Many of the effendis came 
on Christmas Eve, also the Floyds, the Lyons, and many other guests. The 
tree was lighted. The children went through several new drills and exer 
cises, greatly to the delight of all. They had learned a new fan drill, the 
instructions for which Miss Laishley had sent out from England. It was 
very pretty, and the children did well. Christmas morning the children 
who had all hung their stockings on the backs of their chairs before going 
to bed found them full of gifts. The old folks found theirs at their plates. 
Miss Laishley remembered all the old and many of the younger members, 
and was in turn remembered by many of us, more than she thought she 
ought to be, but not more than was our pleasure to do; and so passed a 
happy and pleasant day. 

In March 1897 Ismail Bey Husseini, the newly appointed Director 
of Public Instruction, came to Mother with the request that the 
American Colony take charge of the only Moslem girls school in 
Jerusalem. It was rare for an Arab to be appointed to a senior 
position under the Turkish regime. Ismail Bey had been one of Father s 
pupils and wanted to do something to improve the education of the 


Moslem girls. I was anxious to undertake the work, but as I had only 
just passed my nineteenth birthday, Mother considered me too young 
and inexperienced to shoulder so great a responsibility. Miss Brooke, 
who had been head of a girls school before joining the Colony, was 
getting on in years and too old to cope with the difficulties of organiz 
ing a school. So it was decided that we should take it jointly. In Miss 
Brooke, wisdom, knowledge, and discretion were represented; in my 
youth there was courage, enthusiasm, and complete lack of comprehen 
sion of the difficulties which such a position involved. 

Ismail Bey took Miss Brooke and me to inspect the schoolhouse. 
It was an ancient building forming part of the northern boundary of 
the large compound surrounding the Dome of the Rock. The walls 
were four to five feet thick on the ground floor. The building was sup 
posed to date from Saladin s time. It was an old madraseh for Moslem 
theological students. After extensive repairs were completed, Miss 
Brooke and I remained in charge of the school for one year, after 
which I continued as principal for six more years, until I married 
Frederick Vester. 

One day during this period I returned from the Moslem Girls 
School to our old home on the city wall, which was being used as a 
school for the children of the Colony. I was asked to show a gentle 
man the view of the old city from the roof. It was considered the 
best view to be had from any place inside the walls. We talked 
for a while about the view and history. When he left, he said his name 
was Rider Haggard. 

Also while I was directress of the Moslem Girls School I first met 
Miss Gertrude Bell, traveler, alpine climber, archaeologist, author, 
and diplomat. She spoke correct and classical Arabic. After attending 
an Arab luncheon at which Miss Bell and I were the only women 
present, she asked to see the ladies of the house. So different is the 
classical Arabic from the colloquial that these women could not 
understand what she said. It fell to me to translate from classical 
to the Arabic of the ordinary folk. 

Miss Bell played an important part in placing King Feisal, son of 
King Husein of Arabia, on the throne in Damascus and later in Iraq. 
It was she, I believe, who drew the attention of the War Office to 
the young archaeologist, T. E. Lawrence, who later became the 
famous "Lawrence of Arabia." Miss Bell and I remained friends 
until her death in Baghdad in 1926. A pleasant coincidence is that 
my eldest son, Horatio, married Miss Gertrude Bell s niece, Valen 
tine, daughter of the late Admiral Sir Herbert and Lady Richmond. 

And still the American Colony, no matter what it accomplished or 
tried to do, remained anathema with the American Consulate. Deroga- 


tory articles continued to appear in American newspapers, and others, 
equally strong in opinion, praising the Colony, were printed. 

Any disgruntled or dissatisfied person with a complaint against 
the American Colony found willing listeners at the American Con 
sulate during the tenure of office of the two Consuls, Messrs. Merrill 
and Wallace. 

In September 1897 a pamphlet which became known as "The Alley, 
Paper" was printed for distribution in Jerusalem. Its title was 
Spaffordism. A Conclusive Expose of the Spaffordite Fraud in Jeru 
salem. The pamphlet went on at great length to accuse the community 
of every vile practice in the category of sin. 

It was signed by sixteen American citizens. An edition adapted for 
non-Americans was signed by eleven people of other nationalities. We 
were puzzled. A number of the signers of this shocking pamphlet 
were, we believed, our friends. When they were faced by us with 
their contradictory behavior, they convinced us that they had never 
seen the original of the manuscript. 

Then an abusive article appeared in the Chicago Journal of De 
cember 20, 1897. It was signed by Mr. Edwin Wallace. 

The tradition of the Colony to take whatever came, good or bad, 
as a steppingstone to mount higher, was attempted if not always 
attained. Mr. Wallace s article made us realize finally that there was 
no redress, no possible adjustment to our relationship with the 
American Consulate. 

We prepared to fight for vindication. 


IN OCTOBER 1898 Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who had for 
many years flirted with Sultan Abdul-Hamid over the Baghdad Rail 
way and the Drang nach Osten, used the opening of the reconstructed 
Crusader Church on the property known as the Muristan, given by 
the Turks to his grandfather, as an excuse to visit both Turkey and 

The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, which stands almost in 
the shadow of the Holy Sepulcher, was reconstructed as far as possible 
from the old stones lying in the rains. On this spot was the Palestine 
headquarters of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, and here the 
Knights Hospitalers had their hospice for pilgrims, hospitals, and 
"madhouse" clinics. 

Strangely enough the imperial party traveled on Cook s tickets, 
and Mr. Bernard Heilpern, a converted Jew, who was the manager 
of Thomas Cook and Son s office in Palestine, was in charge. Punch, 
with its usual humor, dubbed the imperial visitors "Cook s Crusaders." 

The imperial visit was a great occasion for Palestine. The Ameri 
can Colony had bought an old camera, and in this small way started 
the Photographic Department which later became famous for its 
large selection of photographs and stereopticon slides. Frederick, 
with Elijah Meyers Brother Elijah, a converted Jewish-Indian who 
had a partial knowledge of photography followed the Kaiser and 
his entourage on the entire Palestine trip. 

The landing was made at a jetty newly constructed for the oc 
casion at the foot of Mount Carmel and adjoining the Templar 
German Colony in Haifa. 

The entire route of the imperial party was decorated, beflagged, 
and illuminated at night. In Jerusalem they encamped in the grounds 
where later the German Propstei and school were built, on the Street 
of the Prophets. There were no buildings there at that time. The 
Sultan sent magnificent tents to be used for receptions. Pre-fabri- 
cated asbestos sleeping quarters were sent from Germany and erected 
in the grounds. 


I was asked by the Turkish authorities in charge of the arrangements 
to select from any house belonging to a Turkish subject in Jerusalem 
furniture and carpets which would be appropriate to furnish the 
royal tents. 

A few weeks before the imperial visitors were due to arrive, the 
Ministry of Education in Constantinople had sent an order that the 
Moslem Girls School in Jerusalem (of which I was principal) should 
present some of their handiwork to the Kaiserin. The only possibility at 
such short notice was the Turkish coat of arms in tapestry, which had 
been ordered and was under construction by the girls of the school. This 
was appropriately framed and enclosed in a beautiful olivewood box. 
One of the schoolgirls was to present it, and the Kaiserin graciously 
appointed the day and hour. 

I had not anticipated the difficulty I encountered when I tried to 
select the little girl to perform this duty. None of the parents would 
allow their daughter to present the gift. They feared the evil ^ye. 

The evU eye is the eye of envy; there would be many envious eyes, 
they felt, and ill luck might follow. 

As a last resort Ismail Bey, who for an entirely different reason had 
not proposed his daughter, said, "I don t believe in the evil eye, so 
send Rowada with the gift." 

His daughter Rowada was a beautiful child about eight years old. 

The Kaiserin presented her with a diamond pin in the shape of 
the German eagle and a box of bonbons and spoke to her in English. 

I have mentioned that the houses were illuminated at night during 
the royal visit. As there was no electricity in Palestine at the time, 
small lanterns with lighted candles inside were hung on hooks. In the 
late afternoon of that day Ismail Bey s manservant was lighting and 
hanging the lanterns on the roof. Rowada went up to watch, still 
wearing the thin white muslin dress that she had worn for her visit 
to the Kaiserin. Her dress caught fire. 

I happened to be talking to Sitt Fatme, Ismail Bey s wife when we 
heard screams. We flew upstairs to find Rowada enveloped in flames. 
I threw her down and rolled her in a small but priceless rug. It put 
out the fire, but the mischief was done. She was burned all over her 
body. Doctors could do little except relieve her suffering. I sat up all 
night with her. The Kaiser sent his personal doctor, but there was 
nothing anyone could do. Toward dawn she died. 

When Mother came to condole with Ismail Bey and his wife, he 
said to her, "Don t ever again say there is no evil eye. I know now 
that there is." 

The carriage road to the Mount of Olives was made for the 
Kaiser s visit. It passed the American Colony. At the junction of 
the two roads, that leading to the Mount of Olives going east and 


the other northwest to Nablus, there was a sharp hairpin bend. On 
the first trip of the imperial visitors to the Mount of Olives the whole 
party stopped at the hairpin bend for some time. 

I remember we were all out looking over the wall of our garden 
to watch the important visitors pass by, and we were intrigued with 
their stop. We asked the Cook s representative who accompanied 
the imperial company on all their trips what it meant. 

Mr. Heilpern told us that the Kaiser had been explaining to his 
Turkish hosts that the bend was far too sharp and narrow to allow 
cannon to pass that way. 

We gave our informant incredulous smiles, but we lived to see 
German and Austrian howitzers and cannon roll down that widened 
bend on their way to fight the British. 

A private service was arranged for the imperial pair on top of the 
Mount of Olives one Sunday afternoon during their visit. I was en 
gaged to Frederick at the time and we had gone for a walk to the top 
of Olivet. As we sat beneath the Cyprus trees, we noticed agitation, 
and suddenly Turkish police were everywhere. A carpet was spread 
on the cistern top in the Russian Compound; some chairs and a small 
prayer desk were arranged there. . 

Almost immediately the imperial pair, accompanied by a small 
entourage, took their places on the chairs. 

A German officer, seeing Frederick and me, came over and asked 
if we would like to join them. We certainly would! We sat directly 
behind the Kaiser and Kaiserin and heard them sing. 

The Kaiserin expressed a wish to own property on the Mount of 
Olives. His Excellency Von Mirbach, who was Oberhomeister Ihren 
Major der Kaiserin, took note of this desire, and it was he who 
organized the appeal to all Germans living in the Fatherland and 
"im Ausland," after a considerable sum had been given by a rich 
German lady for the purpose, and the property was bought on which 
the Kaiserin Augusta Victoria Stiftung was later built. The title 
deeds, made out in the Kaiserin s name, were given to the imperial 
pair on the silver anniversary of their wedding day. The Kaiser and 
Kaiserin never saw this building. They are represented as Crusaders 
in statuettes in the large open court and painted in Byzantine style 
on the ceiling of the church holding the architect s model on their 
knees. Until the war of 191416 the Stiftung was used as a sani 
tarium and the Kaiserswert deaconesses were in charge. 

Several of the deaconesses working in the Stiftung contracted 
malaria, and one wondered how they could get malaria on the top of 
the dry Mount of Olives. There were no swamps on the top of this 
high mountain. But there were cisterns. Here mosquitoes hatched 
and thrived, but as yet no one had connected one with the other. The 


Kaiserin, through Freiherr Von Mirbach, organized the commission 
under the direction of the great malaria expert, Professor Dr. Moh- 
lens, to investigate this problem. He took drops of blood from a 
large number of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Dr. Mohlens made an 
interesting statement in his report. He said that the only place in 
Jerusalem which he found 100 per cent free of malarial parasites 
was the American Colony. Thinking more of the pest of flies, we 
had brought the American custom to Jerusalem of screening our 
windows and doors, which had saved our community more than we 
had realized. 

There were frequent cholera scares, but in December 1912 chol 
era broke out in Palestine and spread rapidly. The fact that there 
was no universal water supply proved for once a blessing in disguise. 
Individual subterranean cisterns, in which rain was collected from 
the roofs of the houses during the winter months, were our only 
source of supply. The Turkish Government put a cordon of soldiers 
around Jerusalem to prevent contamination and keep it isolated. 
The Jerusalem-Jaffa railroad stopped running. We heard rumors 
of the spreading of the dreaded disease through Jaffa, Gaza, Lydda, 
Beersheba, Jericho, and many other villages. People were dying in 
large numbers with very little medical assistance. No serious pre 
cautions, as we understand them now, were taken against its spread. 

There was a Swedish-American, I will call him Mr. Olson, who 
with his wife, two daughters and a son, had come to Jerusalem with 
the Chicago group. He had become dissatisfied with the life of the 
Colony and had left it with his son, but he couldn t persuade his 
wife and two daughters to leave and go away with him. We heard 
that he was working on a farm in Jericho, also, that he was drinking 
heavily and behaving badly. 

On the first of December, at about 3 A.M., Jacob and Frederick, 
who were sleeping in a room near the front door, heard a carriage 
come up the private road and stop at the Colony gate. Soon they 
heard knocking. When they opened the front door, there stood two 
Jews, who informed them that Mr. Olson had started with them from 
Jericho. On the road he was taken ill and had died. The corpse was 
in the carriage in the driveway. Jericho, being one of the places in 
fected by cholera, they feared that Mr. Olson had died of that malady. 
I was roused to make a cup of hot tea for the two Jews, but we re 
fused to take any responsibility for the body. He was an American 
citizen,! therefore we sent the men to Consul Merrill. 

A little later Jacob and Frederick heard the carriage return stealth 
ily. They were up in a trice, but only just in time to prevent the Jews 
from dropping the dead body over the garden wall. 

The men said these had been their instruction^ from Consul 


Merrill. How these men got through the cordon at Gethsemane can 
only be surmised. Thither they were taken again by the police. 

Two of our men went to Dr. Merrill. It was still early morning, 
and he would not receive them. He sent out a note which said that 
we were the proper people to look after the burial. Our men replied 
that Mr. Olson was no longer a member of the Colony and that we 
had no responsibility in the matter. They said, however, as a Chris 
tian duty, to help the two men on whose hands the corpse was, that 
the Colony would be willing to bury the body on condition that Dr. 
Merrill supply the death certificate and authorize us to bury him in 
the new American Cemetery. We were compelled to safeguard the 
Colony in this way because of a threat which Consul Merrill had 
made, that if he only got the chance he would quarantine the Colony. 

This was not the first time that our Consul had refused to receive 
a delegation from the American Colony, so another note was passed 
between the parties. Our men wrote that in view of Dr. Merrill s 
refusal to put the Colony in a position which would make it possible 
for them to bury Mr. Olson, who had died under suspicious circum 
stances, we would notify the municipal authorities to take the proper 

Dr. Merrill refused to read or even to receive the last note. The 
municipal authorities notified Consul Merrill to take charge of the 
body. Dr. Merrill referred the officials to us. We raised no further 
question. We buried Mr. Olson in our recently purchased private 

A friend wrote us: 

Your account of the cunning trap which Mr. Merrill set for you in the 
case of the dead body left at your door . . . reads, in some of its details, 
like a story out of the Arabian Nights. 

Sometimes the two Consuls, in their zeal to gather derogatory 
testimony against the Colony, fell into ditches of their own digging. 
Mr. Wallace s statements to travelers about us were so gratuitous 
and uncalled for that they aroused suspicion, and a number of people 
visited the Colony who would not otherwise have done so, to find 
out the truth for themselves. Many wrote back wonderful letters, 
others were in time to raise powerful voices in our behalf. One such 
visitor was Judge H. Crosby of New York, who was one of the 
judges of the mixed tribunal in Egypt. Judge Crosby came to the 
Colony and asked many questions about our household, our princi 
ples, our mode of life, and was deeply impressed with our work. 
When he said good-by, he asked one more question. 

He wanted to know if we owed anything toward the rent of our 


When Judge Crosby got to London, he telegraphed to his banker 
in New York to send us a check for the amount. He became a stanch 
friend of the Colony. 

Early in 1900 Miss, later Dr. Selma Lagerlof, Sweden s famous 
authoress, visited Jerusalem. 

She stopped at the Grand New Hotel, which was inside the Jaffa 
Gate and was patronized by Thomas Cook and Son. Dr. Merrill also 
lived there. 

He knocked at her bedroom door one day and warned her against 
visiting the American Colony, which, he said, included a number of 
Swedes. He told her that it was not a proper place for ladies to visit. 
He deplored the fact that it bore the name of America and said he 
was doing all he could to break it up. He told her that Mrs. Spafford 
would not allow anyone to see the Swedes alone, that she exercised 
hypnotic influence over them. 

Miss Lagerlof felt that if this was the case she was in duty bound 
to deliver her compatriots from such an evil bondage. 

She came to the Colony accompanied by a friend who was travel 
ing with her. I remember their visit well. They asked for Mother, 
and I went to the living room with her. 

Miss Lagerlof sat on the edge of her chair as though she were 
afraid of contamination. Mother received her cordially, as she did 

When she heard that Miss Lagerlof was Swedish she said, <f You 
have many compatriots here, and they will be delighted to see you." 
And Mother sent me to call all the Swedish members. 

After that first visit Miss Lagerlof came many times to the Colony. 
She talked to the Swedish members collectively and alone; she saw 
us at our work, and attended our services and our social gatherings. 
She had many talks with Mother. One day, I remember, she said 
to Mother in fun, with a bright smile on her intelligent face, "Mrs. 
Spafford, you are the best-looking woman I ever saw to be so 

There was no Swedish Consul in Jerusalem at the time, but when 
Miss Lagerlof reached Constantinople she swore to an affidavit at 
the Swedish and Norwegian Consulate General and sent it to us, in 
which she told of the slanderous attacks against the American 
Colony and what she had found to be true. 

Dr. Lagerlof wrote the novel about a colony called "Jerusalem" 
for which she received the Nobel prize. Mother is the heroine of her 
book and is called Mrs. Gordon. 

At the Universal Christian Conference on Life and Work which 
met in Stockholm in 1925 Dr. Lagerlof gave an address which was 


about Mother and the American Colony. She told about Mother s 
experience at the time of the shipwreck. I quote: 

Then in her extremity she thought no longer of her husband and 
children. She thought about lifting her soul to God. Is it so easy to die? 
she thought. Then she heard a mighty voice . . . that filled her ears with 
the thundering reply: "It is true that it is easy to die. That which is difficult 
is to live." "That which is required in order that it may become easy to 
live on earth is unity, unity, unity." . . . This incident and this message 
came into my mind when I first heard about the Universal Christian 
Conference on Life and Work. I fancied that after the great collision 
the terrible shipwreck that had befallen Christianity [1914-18] many of 
its best members had felt themselves cast out into a bottomless deep, with 
the dear one lost, with aversion to life, ready to accept the threatening 
annihilation as a release. But out of the abyss of agony voices from an 
other world have reached these despairing ones. They, too, have heard, 
amid the wild tumult and bloodshed, the cry of unity, unity, unity; and 
it is for this reason that they have now gathered here from the four 
corners of the world to create the peace and harmony that people have 
yearned after for thousands of years, which surely should make life 
easier to live. This is the first thought that came to me upon hearing 
about the conference. 

May I relate further about the shipwrecked woman s life and work? 
The problem that she had to solve was the same as that of this Conference, 
although on a different scale. And I may well admit that when I medi 
tated upon her life, my heart trembled. I seemed to see a message written 
by the very finger of God a message of guidance, of awakening, of 
trust which should be read by just this gathering. But let me say first 
that the young American woman, Anna Spafford, received the message 
that had come that terrible night as the true Word of God. She did not tell 
herself that it was illusion and self-deception, but interpreted it as a 
sacred command, which it was her task to convert into reality. Several 
years went by, however, before she made a serious attempt. Two daugh 
ters grew up in the home, but the sense of loss continued. At least she 
realized that help and consolation would not be hers until she had dedi 
cated her life to the establishment of unity in the disunited world. 

But unity what is unity? How can it be realized? How can one live 
in unity with one s fellow men as they now are selfish, self-righteous, 
false, dissipated, sinful? Let us go forth to meet the great difficulty. . . . 
Anna Spafford adopted the usual expedient. She herself, her husband and 
twenty of their friends, founded a community whose members pledged 
themselves to live in unity with each other and to serve and help all 
humanity. . . . While they thus sought to emulate the first confessors 
of Christianity, whose lives in Jerusalem were continually in their 
thoughts, news came to them that disease and famine were devastating 
the Holy City. The message that had been given to Anna Spafford seemed 
to them the very essence of Christianity. . . . Their occupation was to 


search out the sick in the narrow lanes of the Holy City, to feed the 
hungry, and to help and care for the orphaned. They lived a simple life, 
taking their meals together and performing earnest devotions. They con 
cerned themselves but little with preaching the principles that had led 
them to this place. . . . 

Let us stop here for a moment. Does it not seem strange that this com 
munity, which desired to spread unity throughout the world, should have 
chosen to proclaim its beliefs through good works? It demanded no 
uniformity of dogmas. It desired, like this Conference, to bring about 
Christian unanimity in work and modes of living. 

It also came to pass that a few, through seeing the peace, harmony, 
and quiet happiness that prevailed in the little circle, became convinced 
that theirs was the right course and requested that they might attach 
themselves to the American Colony. The largest addition to the American 
Colony came, however, not from Palestine, but, strangely enough, from 
Sweden. A group of peasants in the parish of Nos in Dalarna had organ 
ized a similar religious cult. Through countrymen who had emigrated to 
Chicago they came to hear of the Americans who had settled in Jerusalem. 
. . . Those peasants were seized with a desire to unite themselves with the 
Colony. . . . 

The Colony in Jerusalem was composed chiefly of the same nations 
who have gathered for this Conference. To the Colony came small groups 
of people from far west and from far north in order to work for unity 
in association with a few Orientals. There, Anglo-Saxon energy met with 
oriental mysticism and northern sincerity. 

But let us go further. From the beginning the Colony had assumed 

a distinct position among the many Christian communities in Jerusalem. 

Its members had always felt it a duty to display a Christian character 

toward the oriental surroundings, and to hold fast to the idea of 

. unity. ... 

The Colonists, who were cultured, loyal, peaceful people, had always 
enjoyed the greatest esteem among the natives of the city, and this was 
not only among the poor. Such aristocratic Arabic and Jewish families as 
there were in the city visited the Colonists and were their true friends. 
But to many of the Christian communities in Jerusalem and the Orient 
the Colony became from the first a rock of offense. They could not 
understand what this layman s organization, which exerted a missionary 
activity and made itself friends among the opponents of Christianity, 
had to do in Jerusalem. The Colonists were accused of leading despicable 
lives, and attempts were made to harm them and make it impossible for 
tlxem to live in the Orient. 

Is there anyone present who doubts that the Conference will meet 
with the same fate? Is it not certain that the best among the non- 
Christians will greet such a Conference as this with joy and follow it 
with good wishes? And is it not equally certain that its worst adversaries 
Will arise out of Christianity itself, that from this quarter will come the 
voices that misinterpret its motives and seek to frustrate its resolution? 
I need hardly say it ... 


Despite hers and other powerful voices lifted in our behalf, six 
years passed between Dr. Lagerlof s visit and the end of our feud 
with the American Consulate. During that time a great deal hap 

John Whiting was nearing his majority, and it was considered wise 
to send him to the United States to make another appeal for part, if 
not all, of his inheritance. Jacob accompanied him to America. 

Mr. Luther Laflin Mills, who had successfully fought the Whiting 
case in 1895, represented John, and a settlement was reached out of 
court. Mr. Mills succeeded in getting $100 a month for the Whiting 
children and $5000 for John to invest in business. 

In Jerusalem, the Colony had recently purchased the store which 
my future father-in-law, Ferdinand Vester, had maintained for many 
years for the sale of the olivewood articles made in his workshops. I 
have mentioned in an earlier chapter that this work was started by a 
Swiss-German mission. When that organization ceased to function in 
Palestine, Mr. Vester took over the work himself. He was now old 
and feeble and wished to relinquish the responsibility. Frederick 
had been a member of the American Colony for ten years and felt 
this was a good opportunity for the Colony s expansion. One of the 
British members of the Colony had recently been left a legacy and 
she offered this sum to the Colony to invest in the shop. Mr. Vester 
made a reasonable offer in view of the fact that his son would be 
come manager and part owner. John s money was jointly invested 
in the shop under the name of Vester and Co., American Colony 

Frederick and I were planning our marriage at this time. I hoped 
that the date could be the twenty-fifth of September, which was my 
parents wedding day. But my foster brother was in the United 
States, and we wanted Jacob to be present. As soon as Jacob got 
Mr. Mills working on John Whiting s case, he left America for 
Palestine. Once we knew he had touched Egypt, we issued the invita 
tions to our wedding on March 1, 1904. A storm came up and we 
feared Jacob would not be able to land. But he did, and all was well. 

For the civil ceremony my birth certificate was necessary, but I 
had none. The only procurable paper of any sort to show that I was 
born an American citizen was Father s registration in the American 
Consulate in 1881, when he registered his two minor children at the 
same time. A statement of this from the Consul of the United States 
was necessary. Dr. Merrill refused to give this to me. 

Frederick and I consulted the German Consul General. Dr. Mer 
rill s treatment of the members of the Colony was well known. Con 
sul General Schmidt said to me: "Tell your mother to write a letter 


to Dr. Merrill asking him for a copy of Mr. Spafford s registration. 
He won t dare refuse when the request is in writing," and, giving a 
whimsical smile, he added, "invite him to the wedding." 

The civil ceremony took place in the German Consulate in the 
morning of the first of March. After it was over the Consul General 
and Mrs. Schmidt invited us to their private apartment and drank 
our health in champagne. In the afternoon we were married by 
Probst Bussman in the large drawing room of the American Colony. 
(On August 11 9 1909, he married my sister Grace and John Whiting 
in the same place.) We invited only a few friends to the religious 
ceremony, so that there would be room for all the members of the 
Colony to attend. Later in the afternoon a large reception was given 
to several hundred people. We had no honeymoon but went at once 
to our new-old home in the old city, which was the first abode of the 
Colony and the home Father knew and loved. 

And so began thirty-four years of happy married life for Frederick 
and me. 

The man I married was reserved, with no slap-on-the-back famil 
iarity, but he was a loyal friend to rich and poor, high and low. He 
could not compromise with evil or with error. 

His temper was even and he was tolerant. It was quite impossible 
for Frederick to sustain a grudge. He soon forgot what the trouble 
had been about and would meet late enemies cordially. It was easy 
to work with him and a joy to live with him. 

The city was full of tourists that spring of 1904. Rain was abun 
dant and crops were good. Very soon the shop was enlarged and 
doing well. The financial condition of the American Colony grew 
steadily brighter. But, although it was prospering, Dr. Merrill was 
still using his office to harass us. 

Early in April of that year the Sunday-school Convention, led by 
our friend Mr. E. K. Warren, met in Jerusalem. We took in as many 
of the delegates as we could accommodate in both the old house on 
the wall of the old city and the new Colony house at Sheik Jerah. A 
huge marquee was pitched for the meetings. 

When the meeting of the Sunday-school Convention started, Mr. 
Warren insisted that Mother and several members of the Colony 
should sit on the platform with the leaders of the Convention. When 
Dr. Merrill saw this he refused to sit on the same platform. Mr. 
Hartshorn and Mr. Warren challenged him and let him understand 
that the Colony people were going to remain and he could do as he 
liked. Very angry, but for the first time foiled, he decided he had 
better appear. 

In a speech made at one of the meetings Dr. Merrill told how he 
had been to the villages and persuaded them "to keep their beggars 


and pickpockets at home" so as not to annoy the delegates. Some of 
the Turkish Government officials who were present were insulted 
and contradicted the Consul. 

Before the meetings ended Mr. and Mrs. Warren invited Frederick 
and me at their expense to return on the ship Grosser Kurfurst with 
them and visit Egypt and Italy, returning from Naples via Athens, 
Constantinople, Smyrna, Beirut, and Damascus. This was their wed 
ding present to us, and a magnificent one! No one knew but Freder 
ick and me that we had given up our plan for a honeymoon, which 
was to spend a few days in Jericho, that being all we could afford at 
the time, in order to give an Arab woman the means of buying a 
sewing machine. This was a case of "casting our bread upon the 
water," for we certainly found it "after many days" more than 
doubled. I had not been away from Palestine since I returned from 
the United States in 1895, and we enjoyed every minute of the won 
derful trip. 

The meeting in Jerusalem of the Sunday-school Convention was a 
landmark in the history of the Colony. It was the first time Dr. Mer 
rill had been openly and publicly challenged and his threats ignored. 

There was great excitement in Jerusalem that May of 1904. Under 
the direction of an Englishman by the name of Kenward, a Greek 
engineer bored a well and struck water at a depth of one hundred 
and fifty feet on the Bethlehem plain or Upper Baka a. Water meant 
so much to this bleak and arid mountain plateau that the people of 
Jerusalem were very excited. 

Ismail Bey brought us a bottle containing some of the water. It 
was clear and sweet. 

Jacob wrote: 

Great numbers of people have been out there. The Pasha, the consuls, l 
the Patriarch, and they gave the thanksgiving sacrifice to the workmen, 
"zarb" (a whole sheep roasted in a primitive oven). It seems that Mr. 
Kenward had gone to England for improved machinery and that it was 
hoped an abundant water supply would be the result. 

However, nothing more happened at that time, and the whole 
excitement died down in disappointment. 

Further efforts were made to supply Jerusalem s 40,000 inhab 
itants with running water. It was the burning problem at the time. A 
writer, signing himself "The Religious Rambler," wrote: 

The mania for improvement is taking fast hold of Jerusalem. At present 
it has only cistern water to drink and the American Colony is considering 
the project of supplying the city with a water system. 


Jacob had a friend, Mr. S. P. Meyers, an influential and wealthy 
cloth manufacturer, in Bradford, England. He appealed to him for 
help. A Bradford paper wrote under the title "Jerusalem and Its 
Water Supply": 

A charming example of municipal enterprise as understood by Turkish 
municipal authorities is exhibited in a correspondence which has been 
taking place between Mr. S. P. Meyers of Bradford and the mayor of Jeru 
salem. Although the casual visitor might not think so from superficial 
inquiry, Jerusalem possesses both a mayor and a town consul, but the main 
functions which in our occidental views attach to these bodies sanitation 
and the provision of the necessaries of life are not matters which have 
hitherto troubled them much. Of late, however, there has been much dis 
cussion upon the project of establishing a city water supply. 

"This [Mr. Meyers ] report," the article continues, "was for 
warded to the mayor of Jerusalem, and that it has been received with 
not a little gratitude is evident from letters of thanks." But that was 
all that came of the careful estimates, plans, and vast correspond 
ence. The earmarked money was otherwise needed in Constantino 
ple. What could a progressive Arab mayor do? 

Jacob was grateful to Mr. Meyers for taking no end of trouble 
over procuring such exhaustive information about the proposed 
water supply for thirsty Jerusalem and felt chagrined that after all 
his labor nothing came of it. 

Knowing that Mr. Meyers was a collector of quaint and unique ob 
jects, Jacob procured several grains of wheat on which a Jewish 
scribe had written the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. These were 
packed carefully and sent by registered post. 

They reached their destination safely but ahead of the letter which 
gave Mr. Meyers a description of the unusual grains. 

Much to Jacob s consternation he received a letter from Mr. 
Meyers thanking him. He said, "Seeing how well packed they were, 
I realized that they must be seeds of unusual plants, so I gave them 
to my gardener with instructions that they should be planted at once." 

Jacob commented that if they would propagate the Ten Com 
mandments, it was worth-while. 

Later, Under another Turkish governor, Solomon s Aqueduct was 
repaired, and the water to the quantity of 40,000 gallons per day 
was brought from Solomon s Pools and the Sealed Fountain, near by 
to twp standpipes where people could fill their jars and tin pails with 
water. The supply was insufficient and inconvenient. It was not until 
1926 that the drought caused by the meager rainfall (twelve inches) 
in the foregoing rainy season crystallized the much-thought-of and 
talked-about plan for a water supply for Jerusalem. At a cost of 


63,000 the Government of Palestine contracted with the firm of 
Sir John Jackson, Ltd., of London, to bring water to Jerusalem from 
Ein Farrah, the copious spring northeast of Jerusalem. Work was 
commenced on January 2, 1926, and the High Commissioner for 
Palestine, the late Field Marshal Lord Plumer, opened the completed 
work on July 17 of the same year. 

Some years later this supply proved inadequate for the growing 
city, and a larger source was tapped at Ras-el-Ain, near the coast, 
and was pumped 2,700 feet to Jerusalem. 

One of the first actions in the Jewish-Arab struggle for the pos 
session of Palestine was the cutting off of this water supply, causing 
great suffering in the newer part of Jerusalem. Old Jerusalem simply 
went back to its cisterns. 

It was estimated that Jerusalem contained rain-water storage cis 
terns to the capacity of 360,000,000 gallons about enough for a 
city the size of London for two days! 

The same "Religious Rambler" wrote about the American Col 

The range of activities of this community is amusing as well as amazing, 
extending from the baking of a mince pie to the discovery, digging, and 
delivery of an ancient sarcophagus. Their latest bit of enterprise is the 
beginning of a telephone system over the city of Jerusalem. For the first 
time in all its long history the Holy City hears the tinkle of the telephone 
bell and it s a Bell telephone at that! The new courthouse at Jerusalem 
has been connected with the old serai, and the system is to be extended 
until first all official points and then business houses and residences will 
be supplied with telephones. 

I remember what a novelty it was! The first telephone to be in 
stalled as an experiment was one connecting the American Colony 
with our store. After this proved a success, the Turkish Government 
allowed us to install telephones in other places. 

We had some amusing experiences with those uninitiated in its 
use. One day some of our Bedouin friends, who since 1884 had been 
regular visitors at the Colony, were asked to talk over the telephone 
to one of our men at the store. Their comments were something like 
this: "This travels faster than a rifle shot it s like pinching a dog s 
tail in Jerusalem and he barks in Jericho. This is even more wonder 
ful than the telegraph, which takes three hours to get to Jericho, and 
then it is written in Turkish and you have to run around and find 
someone to translate it. This is like lightning." 

Today a Bedouin telegraph or telephone operator is not unusual, 
but I recall how recently he acquired this knowledge. 

Another of the innovations suggested by the American Colony 


was a steam roller to improve road making. It came from Chicago. 
We were often consulted in such matters, because in the course 
of our life under the Turkish regime three Arab mayors had been 
our pupils. 

I have spoken several times of Mr. Hess. He was the German 
Vice-Consul. Mrs. Hess was considered the best-dressed woman in 
Jerusalem. They were Alexandrian Germans. 

Soon after our first baby was born my father-in-law celebrated 
the fiftieth anniversary of his arrival in Jerusalem. Tables were 
placed in his garden under the large almond trees and his many 
friends were entertained at a large garden party. There were 
speeches; there never was a German party without speeches. 

Frederick and I, with Mother, were a bit late in arriving. All the 
tables were filled, but we found seats rather far away from Mr. Hess, 
who was making a speech. He was greatly excited, pounding his 
fists on the table, and shouting. We were too far off to hear what he 
was saying, and we didn t care anyway, but I remember how amused 
I was by Mother s saying; 

Whatever does Mr. Hess find so exciting in the fact that Mr. 
Vester has been in Jerusalem for fifty years to make such a noise 

Sometimes, but not frequently, the Hesses came to call at the 
American Colony. Whenever they did, they brought their young son 
with them. He was a terrific nuisance. He meddled with everything 
and was very inquisitive, and there was no peace when he was about. 
We always delegated one of our members, Brother Elijah, to keep 
Rudolph in charge so we could get through tea undisturbed. Brother 
Elijah was a converted Jew from India and the abjectly poor mem 
ber of a famous family of fabulous wealth. Our Brother Elijah would 
take the boy to the stables and show him our cows, pigs, and horses. 
He had his hands full trying to entertain the nervous, mischievous 
boy who was to become the sinister Rudolph Hess mysterious 
visitor to England and notorious prisoner of World War II. 


SOME years ago I was visiting Phillips Academy, in Andover, 
Massachusetts, where my sons were at school. It was late autumn 
and the coloring glorious. We went for a walk under the trees and I 
remarked that in the United States I missed the link of history; in 
Palestine every hill, tree, valley, and well has its ancient story. 

At that moment we noticed a boulder with a bronze inscription. 

"Here is history!" we exclaimed, and followed a path around a 
pond to investigate. 

On this spot, the plaque informed us, in 1810, the first students 
of Andover "walked and talked" and resolved that the First Ameri 
can Society of Foreign Missions should be started. 

I thought back to the long years of heartbreak when the very 
mention of this mission lay like the shadow of a cross over the 
American Colony in Jerusalem. 

I remember at the same time all that the Presbyterian Board of 
Foreign Missions had accomplished in the Far East. The large 
proportion of doctors, dentists, and chemists in the eastern Mediter 
ranean countries received their education at one of the colleges or 
universities that the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions estab 
lished and conducted, including the Robert College of Istanbul and 
the American University of Beirut, besides those in Greece and 
Turkey. The standard of life has been raised through their influence. 
Leading citizens in many walks of life received their education and 
have the Presbyterian Board to thank for their successful careers. 

It is therefore with a sad heart that I write this chapter. But it is 
part of the history of the American Colony and the "war of the 
graveyard" that was to last fifteen years. It cut deeply into Mother s 
life, and into all our lives. 

I have told in another chapter that in 1891 our American Consul 
was responsible for the first of the graveyard troubles. I was only 
eleven years old when I saw the trenches cut across the American 
Cemetery and my father s grave exposed. Dr. Merrill, who consid- 


ered himself an authority on archaeology, had excavated the ceme 
tery without regard to the graves. 

Seven years later our troubles began again. To explain them I 
must go back in history. 

The first Presbyterian missionaries in Jerusalem had purchased 
the site of the American Cemetery "on the summit of Zion, outside 
the city wall," and I have in my possession a translation of the deed 
of sale, dated Rabch 1251 of the Hegira, and May 1838 in the year 
of our Lord. 

Prior to the purchase of the cemetery several Americans who died 
in Jerusalem were secretly buried at the foot of the Mount of Olives. 
This must have taken place during the epidemic of plague, about 
1838, when Jerusalem was shut within its walls and no one was al 
lowed to enter or leave the city. 

In 1841 a powerful foreign element had been brought into Pales 
tine through the Anglo-Prussian Bishopric, which exercised great 
influence through the enterprises conducted in the diocese. Christ 
Church, erected by the London Jews* Society, served as the seat of 
the bishop. It had been erected inside the walls opposite the Citadel 
and near the Jaffa Gate. Consent to build this church had been diffi 
cult to obtain from the Moslem Turkish Government. It was made an 
integral part of the British Consulate and this facilitated permission 
being granted for its erection. The so-called British Cemetery on 
Mount Zion was held jointly by the English and the Germans. A 
hospital for the Jews under the auspices of the English Mission with 
Dr. McGowan in charge had been opened in the Old City, and later 
a Prussian hospital was established under the supervision of Kaiser- 
swert deaconesses. Schools, orphanages, and other institutions giving 
instruction in agriculture and many kinds of industry were started 
by both English and German missionaries; my father-in-law, Ferdi 
nand Vester, was one of these. There was a controversy between the 
different missionary societies, and it was deemed expedient that the 
American missionaries should leave Palestine and concentrate their 
labors in the Lebanon and Syria. 

When the activities of the Presbyterian Mission were removed 
from Palestine, the walled cemetery on Mount Zion, where a number 
of their members had been laid to rest, was left in charge of the 
American Consulate, with, the understanding, as we were told, that 
any American dying in Jerusalem should have a place of burial. The 
key was kept at the American Consulate. 

In the course of time ten members of the American Colony were 
traied there, and there were other interments as well. 

The site of ancient Jerusalem is full of ruins covered over and hid 
den by the debris and dust of cei^turies. Mount Zion was important 


in the early history of Jerusalem as well as in Byzantine and medieval 
times. The site of the Presbyterian Cemetery on Mount Zion, as Mr. 
Robinson describes it, was "adjacent to the northwestern enclosure 
connected with the Mosque and Tomb of David." Tradition has it 
that this was the "upper room," where Jesus and His disciples ate 
the Passover and instituted the Lord s Supper. 

Before the time of Constantine, Christians had worshiped in an 
old house-church on Mount Zion called variously the Church of the 
Apostles, the Church of Zion, or the Mother of Churches. It was 
traditionally on the site of the house of John Mark, where the 
Apostles met, and where such events as the Last Supper and the 
descent of the Holy Spirit were supposed to have taken place. Here 
some time about the middle of the fourth century (after Helena s 
death) a new church was erected. To it attached other traditions: the 
house of Saint John where Saint Mary was believed to have died, 
and the Tomb of David. 

It was in ruins at the time of the Crusaders and rebuilt by them 
about 1130 as the Church of Zion or of Saint Mary. Once again it 
was laid waste. In 1335 the Franciscans, who, after the collapse of 
the Crusades and the departure of the Latins, had secured a foothold 
in Palestine, secured a portion of the site where tradition had located 
the place of the Last Supper. It was a fragment of the Crusading 
Church, with some pillars still standing. Here they erected a shrine 
called the Coenaculum, or place of the Supper. However, as it was 
also identified as the site of the Tomb of David, it was coveted by 
the Moslems, who had great respect for King David, and in 1523 the 
Moslems took it from them, making it the mosque of the Tomb of 
David. Then the Franciscans in 1551 established themselves in the 
old Georgian monastery now called Saint Salvatore. 

The Tomb of David occupied only a small part of the old Crusad 
ing Church, the rest of the site having crumbled to the ground and 
been covered with the dust of ages. Here, where the American Pres 
byterian missionaries acquired ground for their cemetery, Dr. Merrill 
had suspected the existence of the old church under the ground and 
dug for it. 

In 1897, the year before the German Emperor William II visited 
Jerusalem, we began to hear rumors that the American Cemetery 
was to be sold. But we did not learn until the following year, when 
the German Emperor came, the reason for the secrecy involved. 
The Emperor had arranged for a site to be given him by his friend 
Sultan Abdul-Hamid. The Franciscan Fathers, who had been ex 
pelled from almost this very spot in 1561, had long been trying to 
secure the site of the Dormition de la Sainte Vierge on Mount Zion, 
of which the American Cemetery was a corner. They offered the 


Presbyterian Board a large sum of money for the tiny cemetery on 

the condition that it was cleared of graves and it was a tempting 
offer, especially as missions are always in need of funds. 

Emperor William s father. Emperor Frederick, then Crown 
Prince, had visited Palestine in 1869 and was presented by the 
Sublime Porte with the ancient site of the Muristan on which the 
Lutheran Church of the Redeemer was built. The consecration of 
this church was one excuse for the Kaiser s trip to Palestine in 1898. 

As the Muristan had been given to the Lutherans, it was un 
questioned that the Dormition de la Sainte Vierge would be given to 
his Catholic subjects. Although the Franciscans bought the American 
Cemetery, the site of the Dormition was given to the Benedictines, 
who built the modern church, which later was to serve the Israelis 
as a stronghold. 

When we heard of the probability that the American Cemetery 
might be sold we had no objections. The cemetery was not benefiting 
the Presbyterian Board and they had every right to sell it. We had no 
legal claim to the privilege of burying our dead there except that 
given us by the American Consul at each burial. 

We therefore selected a suitable site and started negotiations to 
purchase a small plot of ground to be used as a private burial place. 
Our petition to the Turkish authorities had to go through the Ameri 
can Consulate. Under Turkish law, a cemetery becomes a Pious 
Foundation, which cannot easily be sold. Because of these restric 
tions, there is a certain amount of "red tape" to be gotten through. 

In view of our petition for purchase of a cemetery, which took 
its legitimate course through the American Consulate, Mr. Rudy 
received a letter from Mr. Wallace dated February 10, 1897, in 
which he acknowledged the receipt of Mr. Rudy s request and said in 
reply, "Permit me to state that I fear you will have great difficulty in 
procuring permission to use the ground you propose purchasing as 
a cemetery. An application for such purchase must be made through 
the Legation at Constantinople." Then Mr. Wallace asked Mr. Rudy 
to call at the Consulate, which he did. 

During the interview Mr. Wallace said that the matter of the sale 
of the American Cemetery was under consideration by the Presby 
terian Board, but it would be some time before they would decide to 
make the sale. 

Mr. Wallace asked Mr. Rudy whether the American Colony, 
m case of such a sale, would be willing to undertake the transfer of 
their dead. 

Mr. Rudy replied that we would certainly be willing, but as we did 
not have a place of burial yet, he asked that timely notice should be 


Mr. Rudy at this time was preparing to leave for the United States 
as our personal representative to Washington. Matters had steadily 
grown worse between the American Colony and the American Con 
sulate. Several requests for an investigation into the actions of the 
two Consuls had been made, and each time they had been evaded. 
This time we were obdurate. 

Since so much of our life at this time was subjected to protracted 
persecution in which enemies of our Group sought to discredit the 
leaders and individuals of the American Colony, I think it best that 
we be perfectly frank in explaining the basis of the trouble that was 
distorted by evil minds into charges of moral laxity. At the same 
time it must be remembered that the actual animus was over theo 
logical questions which in a day of fanatical dogmatism aroused the 
intensest passions against any who were in any way diiferent. 

Some time after my parents came to Jerusalem, Father told 
Mother in private that he wanted to live Matthew 19:12, "and there 
are eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom 
of heaven s sake." Nothing about this resolution was mentioned at 
the time to any of the other members of the Group. When, finally, 
Mother spoke of it to Mrs. Whiting, she found that the Whitings had 
made much the same choice. 

It was a solemn undertaking, a personal dedication which did not 
concern any except those who chose to live it. Celibacy was never 
meant to become a governing canon of the Group. 

Somehow this had leaked out. It was misinterpreted and degraded 
by our opponents. 

After Father died Dr. Merrill became less cautious in his attacks 
and accused us of forbidding marriage. There were no young people 
in the Colony at the time to get married, so we had no means of 
disputing this new charge. Mother went to Dr. Merrill to try to ex 
plain, saying that she believed if he knew it was false, he, being a 
Christian gentleman, would cease to repeat such statements. "Why 
don t you get married?" he demanded rudely. 

Mother s reply was that she still felt close to Father. 

Dr. Merrill s next accusation was that we were spiritualists who 
claimed communication with the dead! 

The article by Mr. Wallace and the insinuations of the Alley 
paper had clearly pointed the way to an investigation. We made up 
our minds to put a legal stop to the continual slanders by the two 
Consuls against the American Colony. 

We knew we could expect no possible redress from instituting a 
court procedure in Jerusalem against our persecutors, for in Turkish 
times American citizens held their own consular courts, and our 
archenemy would have been our judge. 


Presbyterian Board a large sum of money for the tiny cemetery on 
the condition that it was cleared of graves and it was a tempting 
offer, especially as missions are always in need of funds. 

Emperor William s father, Emperor Frederick, then Crown 
Prince, had visited Palestine in 1869 and was presented by the 
Sublime Porte with the ancient site of the Muristan on which the 
Lutheran Church of the Redeemer was built. The consecration of 
this church was one excuse for the Kaiser s trip to Palestine in 1898. 

As the Muristan had been given to the Lutherans, it was un 
questioned that the Dormition de la Sainte Vierge would be given to 
his Catholic subjects. Although the Franciscans bought the American 
Cemetery, the site of the Dormition was given to the Benedictines, 
who built the modem church, which later was to serve the Israelis 
as a stronghold. 

When we heard of the probability that the American Cemetery 
might be sold we had no objections. The cemetery was not benefiting 
the Presbyterian Board and they had every rigftt to sell it. We had no 
legal claim to the privilege of burying our dead there except that 
l^ven us by the American Consul at each burial. 

We therefore selected a suitable site and started negotiations to 
purchase a small plot of ground to be used as a private burial place. 
Our petition to the Turkish authorities had to go through the Ameri 
can Consulate. Under Turkish law, a cemetery becomes a Pious 
Foundation, which cannot easily be sold. Because of these restric 
tions, there is a certain amount of "red tape" to be gotten through. 

In view of our petition for purchase of a cemetery, which took 
its legitimate course through the American Consulate, Mr. Rudy 
received a letter from Mr. Wallace dated February 10, 1897, in 
which he acknowledged the receipt of Mr. Rudy s request and said in 
reply, "Permit me to state that I fear you will have great difficulty in 
procuring permission to use the ground you propose purchasing as 
a cemetery. An application for such purchase must be made through 
the Legation at Constantinople." Then Mr. Wallace asked Mr. Rudy 
to call at the Consulate, which he did. 

During the interview Mr. Wallace said that the matter of the sale 
of the American Cemetery was under consideration by the Presby 
terian Board, but it would be some time before they would decide to 
make the sale. 

Mr. Wallace asked Mr. Rudy whether the American Colony, 
m case of such a sale, would be willing to undertake the transfer of 
their dead. 

Mr. Rudy replied that we would certainly be willing, but as we did 
not have a place of burial yet, he asked that timely notice should be 


efuses to restore these remains to me or to give me any real information 
n the matter, disregarding my personal appeals to him and those com- 
nunicated to him officially by John Dickson, Esq., H.B.M. s Consul 
or Jerusalem . . . 

She also requested the return of the body of Mr. Drake, whose 
ather in England joined in the demand for his son s body. 

The British Consul s efforts in our behalf were answered by a letter 
rom Mr. Wallace, stating the American Consulate 

lad nothing whatsoever to do in the matter of transferring the bodies from 
he American Cemetery to then: temporary resting place in the English 
Cemetery. . . . 

In response to Lord Salisbury the British Consul took action and 
jecured the number of the box containing the remains of Captain 
Jylvester. After this the tone of the correspondence changed. Bishop 
Blyth, Bishop of Jerusalem, wrote instructions to the superintendent 
rf the English Cemetery to write Mrs. Sylvester offering "to take up 
ie body of her husband and give it over to herself or her representa 
tive if she could identify the coffin (or box, as they call it)." 

When at last permission was granted to open the pit, Mrs. Sylvester 
felt that because so much intrigue and quibbling had been practiced, 
she wanted to be present, no matter how harrowing the experience 
might be. 

With Mrs. Sylvester that day in the English Cemetery were Mr. 
Hensman the cemetery superintendent, the British Consul s drago 
man, and also a kavass from the Consulate, Dr. Savignoni, and 
several members of the American Colony. She had a plan of the 
American Cemetery with the graves. 

Captain Sylvester s was number thirteen. 

Until the pit was opened and the condition uncovered no member 
of the Colony had any idea of the true facts. We had been told by 
the workmen who assisted at the removal that the bodies had been 
ruthlessly dismembered in order to cram them into the boxes. We 
could not credit such a story. 

The truth lay bared in the pit. Fifteen boxes represented the 
twenty-five graves of the American Cemetery. They were stacked 
helter-skelter, some on their sides, some on end. The boxes were not 
coffins, but packing cases, the largest ones about thirty inches long, 
sixteen inches wide, sixteen inches deep. The majority of the boxes 
were smaller, about thirteen inches by ten and nine. 

There was no box thirteen. 

Nor was there any way of telling the American Colony dead from 
the other American dead. One box was marked three and four, indi 
cating that it might contain the contents of two graves. 


Another had burst open, disclosing limbs severed into parts, con 
firming the testimony of the fellaheen workman which we had refused 
to believe. 

This box held the remains of more than one body, and among 
them Mrs. Gould and Jacob made a harrowing discovery, its identity 
proven beyond doubt by the fact that Father had lost his front teeth 
in an accident when he was a boy. 

Nothing could be done. The boxes were replaced in the pit and 
covered up. A complete report was sent to Mr. Rudy in Washington 
and he redoubled his attempts to extract from the State Department 
an answer to our request for an investigation into the cemetery affair 
as well as into our earlier and oft-repeated complaints against the 
two Consuls. 

After another long delay a cable came from Mr. Rudy: "Investi 
gation granted. 7 

Consul General Dickenson came from Constantinople to Jerusalem 
to conduct it. 

It was a bit of good luck that both Dr. Merrill and Mr. Wallace 
were in Jerusalem at the time. 

Before bringing the cemetery matter before Mr. Dickenson, all 
signers of the notorious Alley paper were brought to prove what they 
had signed. One after another they said that they had not seen the 
whole pamphlet. Not one could substantiate any of the statements 
against the morals of the American Colony. 

Instead, witness after witness, all respected members of Jerusalem 
society, came forward in our behalf. 

This was the first part of the investigation. After its completion 
Mr. Dickenson told us that one would think it would be a pleasure 
to visit Jerusalem, but the atmosphere, he said, "was overburdened 
with crucifixion." 

The next part of the investigation dealt with the cemetery. 

On opening, Mr. Dickenson recorded: "Inasmuch as this plot is 
not a cemetery." We could not allow that to pass. We expostulated 
and said that it had been used as such for more than sixty years. We 
produced official documents to prove that as a cemetery under Turk 
ish law no taxes had been paid on it. 

A photograph of the stone slab which had stood over the cemetery 
gate was shown I have it still. It showed the break caused by its 
removal at the time of the sale through the carved words in Arabic 
and English: "American Cemetery Jesus Christ is the Resurrection 
and the Life/* 

To the Presbyterian Board the case seemed to hang on the question 
as to wither this plot of ground on Mount Zion was a cemetery or 


not. If it was not a cemetery, it could be sold privately. The moral 
issue, which was to us the most important, was obscured. 

I have just reread all the testimony of this investigation and I am 
impressed with the futility of the whole affair as far as the cemetery 
matter was concerned. 

I remember the last day very well. I was to be the first witness. We 
went to the Consulate full of hope and were met by Mr. Wallace, 
who told us that Consul General Dickenson had left that morning for 

So this was the end! 

What had been done, we knew, could never be undone. Our dead 
could never be restored. Victory, if it ever came, would simply be a 

It was not until the end of 1906 eight years later, that the entire 
matter was thrashed out and vindication came. 

During that time a great change had taken place in the status of 
the American Colony. I married Frederick Vester, and the German 
Consul represented us and was friendly. Our Swedish members, who 
had been at the mercy of our American Consul, now had an advocate 
in their own Consul. We had more English members, who had their 
English Consul as protector. The American Colony was a prosperous 
and respected force in Jerusalem. 

One day a friend came in haste to let us know that the representa 
tive was back in Jerusalem and at work in the English Cemetery, 
evidently for the second removal of the bodies he had placed there 
so many years before, Various members of the Colony rushed off in 
four different directions, some to the English Consul, others to the 
Swedish Consul, and others to the German authorities, who had joint 
control of the cemetery with the English. 

Another group hurried to the English Cemetery to be eyewitnesses 
of whatever might be taking place there. John Whiting joined this 
delegation and had the foresight to take a camera along. 

They found the man at the cemetery with workmen, and the pit 

Porters waited to carry the remains away. Five of the boxes had 
already been removed from the pit, and the pictures John took were 
eloquent testimony. 

The English Consul sent a protest to the English bishop for allow 
ing the second removal without notifying him. The Swedish and 
German Consuls sent the same protests. After a conference between 
the German and English custodians of the cemetery an order was 
received that the remains must be replaced where they were and not 
molested again. But we would not allow any helter-skelter burial. We 


made new boxes and marked them just as they had been before 
placing them in the common grave. 

The American Colony was given the right to this small plot in the 
English Cemetery and permission to put up a stone with the names 
of those whose bones had been so sadly disturbed. We put the in 
scription on the stone that had been on the American Cemetery door: 
"I am the Resurrection and the Life" with the names below. On 
each side are the names of those not belonging to the Colony but who 
were in the American Cemetery and now lie in this common grave. 
However, there was still an unsolved question. Where were the five 
bodies which had been buried nearest the time of the sale? I have in 
my possession a large number of letters dealing with the matter. 
Finally we were given four bodies which we buried in our newly pur 
chased cemetery on Mount Scopus. 

One body was never found. 

One Sunday afternoon in 1906 a gentleman by the name of Alex 
ander Hume Ford called on Mother. He had heard about the Ameri 
can Colony years before in Chicago, and I believe he had attended 
Father s Sunday school as a boy. In the course of conversation he 
expressed a wish to visit Father s grave. A look of anguish passed 
over Mother s face. He noticed it and tried to turn the subject, but 
Mother said she would like to tell him about the trouble we had had 
with the two Consuls and about the cemetery affair. Mr. Ford was 
shocked and sympathetic. He was also a newspaper correspondent. 
He asked for full information, which we supplied, and he wrote an 
article entitled "Our American Colony in Jerusalem," which appeared 
in the Christmas number of Appleton s Magazine in 1908. 

This article, so completely laudatory to us and damning to the 
opposition, caused many of our friends in America and the Holy 
Land to write to the State Department. At last action was taken. This 
time every bit of testimony was brought out into the open. 

The Rev. Edwin Wallace had left Jerusalem several years before 
and gone back to his old vocation. His church was in Pennsylvania, 
and among others, of course, his parishioners read the article. They 
knew their pastor had been Consul of the United States in Jerusalem, 
amd also the article gave his name. 

The indictment against him was serious. There was no alternative, 
the Rev. Edwin Wallace had to bring action against Appleton s 

I have in my possession copies of the entire proceedings. Mr. 
Wallace had to resign, his church, he claimed, on account of the 
publication of this article. 

By a confusing coincidence, Mr. Thomas R. Wallace, no relation, 


was now Consul of Jerusalem. He gathered the evidence about the 
cemetery, which was even worse than we had anticipated. Workmen 
who had been employed in the gruesome task testified under oath how 
they had dismembered the bodies with their pickaxes to fit them into 
the smaller boxes. 

The lawyers for Appleton s Magazine wrote to thank Consul 
Thomas R. Wallace for so ably conducting the case and for the 
voluminous amount of evidence procured. The trial had undoubtedly 
cost Rev. Edwin Wallace several thousand dollars. 

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Dr. Merrill had been failing in health, 
and finally underwent a serious operation on his throat which re 
moved his power of speech. 

Early in 1910 Mrs. Newman, widow of the Methodist Bishop 
Newman, came to Jerusalem and bought property on the Street of 
the Prophets. She was very old, and had been a friend of Mother 
for many years. She absorbed none of the Jerusalem gossip or real 
ized the bitterness of local feuds. She gave a housewarming to which 
she invited Mother and me, among others, and Dr. and Mrs. Merrill. 

By this time we were prosperous enough to have a handsome car 
riage and two beautiful grays. Dr. Merrill recognized our carriage 
and would not come in. Mrs. Merrill entered, but Dr. Merrill walked 
up and down outside in the street, hoping, I suppose, that we would 
leave. But mother and Mrs. Merrill were having their first conversa 
tion, and I was very much amused to see that the two ladies were 
enjoying each other s company. Mrs. Merrill was a friendly, com 
fortable American matron of portly size, who was meeting for the 
first time the much-discussed Mrs. Spafford and evidently not sharing 
her husband s estimation of her. 

At last Dr. Merrill entered with some belated guests. His agonized 
behavior was disconcerting to witness. He wrote on a pad but was 
careful not to let the pad out of his hands. . 

The Arabs were convinced that God had punished Dr. Merrill for 
his persecution of the American Colony. 

It must be remembered that the case brought by the Rev. E. Wallace 
was against Appleton s Magazine and not against the American Col 
ony. For us, there was no redress other than having been vindicated. 

But a persecution that had lasted twenty-five years was ended. 


IN THE years leading up to World War I there were disturbing 
historical and political happenings, many of which had repercussions 
in Jerusalem. In 1908 the Young Turk revolution took place after 
Austria annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, A series of changes in Turkish 
policy covering a number of years finally brought about the reviving 
of the 1876 constitution. 

The granting of the new Turkish constitution evoked in the Empire 
an all-prevailing spirit of liberty. 

A nation of patriots was born, with a keen sense and appreciation 
of freedom. To some, utterly untrained in its use, freedom meant lack 
of restraint and license. 

In Palestine under the new regime all were now brothers; Moslems, 
Christians, and Jews were Turkish subjects. Heretofore only Moslems 
were drafted into the Army while a nominal sum exempted Jewish 
and Christian Turkish subjects from military service. Now all were 
alike drafted, and this was the first shock experienced in Palestine 
as to what "equality" meant. 

In the first zeal of reform many obnoxious and corrupt officials 
were removed and in the elections of members for the new Turkish 
parliament the new government insisted on the return of men whose 
patriotism was unquestionable. The two delegates from Jerusalem 
were the best men that could be found. 

Incidentally, both these men, Rohi Effendi Khalidi and Said Effendi 
Husseini, had not only been instructed in English by members of the 
American Colony, but had received a strong impetus in the direction 
of justice, progress, and democracy. 

Later on there were other members of Parliament from Jerusalem, 
Faidi Effendi al Alami and Ragib Bey Nashashebie, both friends of 
the Colony. 

Among the religious communities in the Holy City there was a 
marked rising to obtain their rights. The ecclesiastical heads of each 
sect had long dominated the people composing their congregations, 
and in case of opposition the leaders could invoke the strong arm of 
the secular Turkish authority, and so all dissatisfaction was silenced. 


The new constitution contained clauses which gave the laity in these 
communities the right to formulate their demands, and several more 
or less serious agitations occurred. 

Even among the Jews there was some commotion. The official 
chief rabbi was removed in consequence of demonstrations. I have 
mentioned the halukkah, or prayer money, which was sent from 
Jewish communities all over the world for distribution among their 
co-religionists in the Holy City. Undoubtedly there were abuses. 

The Armenian community showed its independence by rising as 
one man in a threatening manner, and would not be quieted until the 
government ordered the removal from his position of an obnoxious 
factotum of the aged Patriarch. 

The Roman Catholic or Latin community remained reasonably 
quiet. Its administration had been lacking in what caused friction 
in other communities. However, demands were made for better hous 
ing facilities and these were speedily acceded to. To understand this 
demand it should be explained that all the larger Christian communi 
ties in Jerusalem provide house accommodation free for nearly all 
their members. The Roman Catholic Church was under the historic 
French protection, and its position, therefore, was unique. The affairs 
of all the other ecclesiastical bodies of Palestine were under the con 
trol of the Turkish Government. Among the smaller of the old Chris 
tian sects more or less agitation occurred with different degrees of 
seriousness. But nearly all were made conscious of their new and 
independent position. 

The most serious far-reaching movements for liberty took place 
in the Greek Orthodox Community in Jerusalem. It soon spread to 
other cities, and Bethlehem, Jaffa, Gaza, Haifa, and even Trans- 
Jordan and smaller towns and villages in Palestine, which were under 
the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, were affected. 

The point on which the conflict turned was the discrimination in 
the administration of the Greek Church affairs in favor of those 
members who were Greek by nationality as well as religion. The 
Greek clergy were exclusively of Hellenic nationality and did not 
know the language of the country, whereas the great majority of the 
laity were native Arabs. All the affairs of the church, including the 
finances, were controlled by the Holy Synod of the church. The 
Synod selected the Patriarch, who was then approved by the Turkish 
Government. This was the inner circle of the rich and all-powerful 
Greek convent. Under the then-existing arrangements none of the 
native community could ever become a member of the Greek con 
vent or the Holy Synod. The Greek Church Theological School at 
the Convent of the Cross, which I have mentioned in a previous 
chapter, was the path of entrance into the convent, and no Arab was 


admitted. It was even difficult for Arabs to obtain entrance to better 
secular schools conducted by the Greek convent, which were attended 
by those of Greek birth from Greece or Cyprus. 

The one exception was the Orthodox Patriarchate of Damascus, 
where the native element had succeeded, with Russian help, in having 
a Greek-born incumbent removed for misconduct and a native priest 
elevated to his place. The intensity of race feeling is illustrated by the 
fact that whereas in public church services the Patriarchs of Alex 
andria and Constantinople were prayed for, the native-born Patriarch 
of Damascus was omitted. 

The prominent men of the Arab-speaking Orthodox community in 
Jerusalem met and discussed their grievances. They demanded equal 
rights, ecclesiastical and otherwise, and a share in the direction of 
committees which should be composed equally of clergy and laity; 
an increase of educational, medical, and hospital facilities and better 
free housing accommodation for the lay members; and a larger pro 
portion of the immense revenues of the convent for the poor of the 
community. The income of the Greek convent was swelled by dona 
tions from abroad, and large sums of money were given to the many 
shrines or holy places by the army of pilgrims who annually came 
to Jerusalem from the different countries where the Greek Church 
was active. 

A delegation of Arab laity waited on the Patriarch and- laid their 
demands before him. The Patriarch was kindly disposed, but the 
intolerant Greek priests withstood making the least concession or 
compromise. Excitement rose to fever heat. The native churches were 
all closed; the people refused to attend. Even funeral services were 
held in open-air shrines in the cemeteries rather than in the churches. 

Dissension began between the priests who favored the Patriarch 
and the laity on one side and the monks of the Holy Synod on the 
other. The Greek convent was the scene of priestly violence and 
bloodshed. Turkish forces were called into the precincts of the con 
vent to protect the Patriarch. 

During this time my husband and I were dining at the Grand New 
Hotel with the new American Consul, Mr. Thomas R. Wallace, (not 
to be confused with Edwin Wallace) and Mrs. Wallace, and in the 
arcade under the hotel, which is the property of the Greek convent 
and leads to the Patriarchate, a battle started between the clergy and 
Arab laity. Shots were fired and Turkish soldiers called to quell the 

The Consul had to send us home under the protection of the kavass 
of the United States Consulate. 

Russia, which at that time was predominantly Greek Orthodox, 


was brought into the conflict. Large sums of money came to Jeru 
salem in particular, and Palestine in general, from thousands of 
Russian pilgrims. Tension grew, in Jerusalem and in the outer world. 

In April 1911 the "Parker fiasco" came nearer causing anti-Chris 
tian riots and even massacre than anything that had happened during 
our long residence in Jerusalem. 

Several years before an agent, acting mysteriously in behalf of a 
group of "notable Englishmen," came to Jerusalem for the acquisi 
tion of property to "build schools and hospitals for the people on 
behalf of the Turkish Government." According to his accounts, he 
enjoyed the patronage of the Grand Vizier, the Minister of the In 
terior, et al. Soon it evolved that the property sought was ti^e hill 
situated to the south of the city, above the Virgin s Fount. It was 
the historic site Mount Ophel. The local authorities ordered the 
municipal architect to make plans of the entire hill for the purchasers, 
and appraised, advertised, and purchased at a nominal sum the tract 
desired, and handed the property over to the Englishmen at the same 

The Englishmen came to Jaffa by yacht and, in due time, to Jeru 

They brought with them many cases of implements for excavation. 
Nothing more was said about a hospital or school. They set to work 
at once to excavate Mount Ophel. They also began working at the 
tunnel that conveys the water from the Virgin s Fount to the Pool of 
Siloam, in which Jacob, as a schoolboy, had discovered the Siloam 

Of course we were greatly interested and equally mystified by the 
activities of the Englishmen. We heard many curious and amusing 
reports about them from their dragoman and from Mr. Tarsha, who 
catered for the party, and who was our tenant. My husband and I, 
with a growing family, had rented a larger house and sublet the old 
one to Mr. Tarsha. 

We heard of gay dinners given by the Englishmen, once with the 
Turkish Pasha as guest, and of their using oranges for target .practice, 
with the little Jewish children from the nearby "box colony" scrambling 
about to gather the smashed fruit. They rode to their excavations 
near Silwan on donkeyback. One morning we heard unusual noises 
along the road, and saw the worthy archaeologists playing at being 
donkeyboys, running alongside the donkeys and imitating the yelling, 
only much louder, usually made by the Arab boys, who were mounted 
in the Englishmen s places. 

They were certainly the oddest archaeologists ever to visit Jeru- 


salem. Frederick and I met some of them at a reception and found 
them charming, but we were puzzled by their complete lack of 
archaeological knowledge. 

My brother Jacob was particularly grieved that these men had the 
privilege of excavating Ophel, and were making no record of what 
ever they might find. He met several of the young men at a picnic 
given by Faidie EfEendi al Aland and impressed urgently on them the 
harm it would do to the whole archaeological world if they carried 
on excavations on the most historical spot in Palestine and left no 
scientific records. 

Finally Jacob obtained a promise that they would request Pere 
Vincent, belonging to the Dominican Fathers and head of the Ecole 
Biblique et Archeologique in Jerusalem, to be present during excava 
tions and record the findings. Pere Vincent accepted the invitation, 
and the result is the scholarly book entitled Underground Jerusalem, 
Discoveries on the Hill of Ophel (1909-11). 

The facts that have impressed people mdst were that not one of 
the party was an archaeologist; they were not familiar with the history 
of what had been done by previous excavators; and they were so 
mysterious in what they did, imparting to none what they were after, 
and permitting absolutely no one to visit the excavations, that natu 
rally it was inferred that they were after treasure. 

Soon all kinds of stories were afloat that they were trying to find 
the royal Tomb of David and the Kings of Judah; that they sought 
the buried temple treasures; that they were after the Ark of the 
Covenant that was hidden there, et cetera, et cetera. 

Two prominent members of the Turkish parliament from Con 
stantinople attended them as imperial commissioners, also policemen, 
gendarmes, and a city sergeant. 

They enjoyed every privilege and immunity but let scarcely any 
European pass near their excavation. 

It should be said that in 1874, when the Palestine Exploration 
Fund conducted excavations here, this was only regarded as the Hill 
Ophel, at one time within the city walls; but since then research has 
convinced almost every competent archaeologist that here stood the 
oldest, the Jebuzite city, which David conquered by the hand of Joab, 
his sister s son. In this vicinity David built his home, the kings were 
buried; here was the Zion, and northward from here rose the temple 
reared by Solomon, his son. Here it was that everything described 
by Warren in his researches assumed so much greater importance, as 
having a bearing on Zion, on the most ancient city and settlement. 

Another fact which must have influenced this group should be 
borne in mind, and that is the suggestion made by the eminent French 
archaeologist, M. Clermont-Ganneau, that here by the great sweep in 


the tunnel of Hezekiah, that conveys the water to the Pool of Siloam, 
must be sought the Tomb of David. 

After working for about three months the Englishmen were com 
pelled to stop work because of the rains; so before Christmas 1909 
they left to spend a few months in England. 

The rumors about the Englishmen had stirred up the Jews because 
they were excavating the most historic spot connected with Jewish 
history, and presently all the land lying between their plot and the 
Pool of Siloam was acquired and walled up by the Jews. Then the 
excavators began to experience some difficulties, and obstacles were 
placed in their path. It appeared that Baron Rothschild had furnished 
the money for the Jews purchase, and was trying to get a concession 
for them to ascertain whether it was possible to locate the royal 
tombs under the direction of one who had made the suggestion. The 
government, therefore, notified the Englishmen that they must bring 
their work to an end in three years, so that overlapping privileges 
might not be granted to competing parties. So it was that when the 
English party returned in the fall of 1910 they worked through the 
winter, although there was an unusual amount of rain that year. 

It appears that they had a secret arrangement by which all who 
had part in it agreed to give 50 per cent of whatever they found to 
the Turkish Government, and it was whispered about that they ex 
pected this fund to amount to 40,000,000. When the two members 
of the Turkish Parliament were obliged to return to Constantinople 
to attend the sessions, the Pasha (governor of the province) and the 
commander of the gendarmes became their successors as inspectors 
and daily attended the excavations. 

Just as the Mohammedan pilgrims were arriving by the thousands 
for the Nebi Musa (Prophet Moses) procession, which was instituted 
by the Turks hundreds of years ago for a political purpose, and a 
counterpoise to match the large number of Christian pilgrims who 
assemble in the Holy City for the Easter festivities, a report got 
abroad and spread like wildfire that the English explorers had, clan 
destinely, been excavating at night in the noble sanctuary of the 
Mosque of Omar or Dome of the Rock. It was alleged that they had 
penetrated even into the sacred rock and "The Well of the Spirits" 
through the connivance of the sheiks, who acted as guards, and the 
mosque attendants and the police who were in their employ. The 
report grew that they had carried off the Crown of David, and the 
genie-attended ring of Solomon, the two tables of stone containing 
the law, and the sword of Mohammed. 

The aroused people forced the hands of the authorities, the^ sheiks 
were cast into prison, and the military attendants of the Englishmen 
were arrested. 


The Turkish lawyer, who was brought from Constantinople in 
their service, was detained and put under surveillance in Jerusalem. 
Every bit of their baggage was opened and searched before they were 
allowed to go. 

The Englishmen hastened to their yacht at Jaffa. After illuminating 
their vessel and announcing that they were going to hold a reception 
on board in honor of the Jaffa officials, they slipped away at night. 

An admission was extorted from the son of the head sheik that the 
Englishmen had worked for nine nights in the Dome of the Rock, 
coming there wearing fezzes to avoid detection. They opened up the 
hitherto inaccessible "Well of the Spirits," penetrated a passage (de 
scribed by M. Clermont-Ganneau about 1874) in the surface of the 
Sacred Rock and running downward for several meters, and dis 
covered a basin, whose plastered interior plainly showed marks of the 
different levels of the liquid that had stood in it. (Could it have been 
the blood of the sacrifice?) They were prevented only by public in 
dignation from going still farther. The son of the sheik confessed also 
that they had opened and entered the stables of Solomon through a 
rock-hewn passage running southward. 

The exposure was caused by another mosque attendant who was 
not in the secret, coming there after midnight to sleep, as he had 
visitors at home. Finding European strangers there and work going 
on, he made his escape and told the story. 

The wrath of the people of Jerusalem was so great and so well 
realized by the military authorities that patrols were posted in every 

On Friday, the last day of the Feast of Nebi Musa, when upward 
of ten thousand people were assembled in the mosque grounds for 
the benediction and dismissal, a quarrel between two sweetmeat 
vendors and the hastening of the police to intervene so inflamed the 
imagination of the crowd that they stampeded. 

A fearful panic ensued, the peasant women and pilgrims pouring 
out of the walls of the enclosure and running toward the city gates 
crying, "Massacre! Massacre!" The business places were closed up in 
a few minutes, every family arming itself and barricading its home. 

It is said that the Russian Compound was completely shut up a 
most unusual performance. It is also stated that the barracks were at 
once closed, lest, with the great number of soldiers absent attending 
the many Christian festivities, the arsenal might be seized and the 
soldiers kept at bay by the cannon being turned on them. The wildest 
reports were circulated: that the sheik had been killed, that the gover 
nor had been dealt with by the mob, et cetera. Officials were soon sent 
out along the roads in every direction to stop and assure the fleeing 
people that nothing was the matter, lest alarming reports should un- 


settle the country. Tradespeople were urged to reopen their stores and 
resume business, and soon everything was quiet. 

So ended the ignoble episode. It could not have happened at a worse 
time of year than the time when the Greek Orthodox Easter coincides 
with the Jewish Passover and the Moslem political Feast of Nebi 
Musa, In those days there was no controversy between Jews and 
Arabs. That started after the Zionist national aspirations were made 
public by the Balfour Declaration. Friction in those days was between 
"hotheads" who came with the different Christian pilgrims from many 
countries and got into trouble with one another or with the Turkish 
military and police. Many a Turkish governor lost his position because 
of trouble taking place in or near the Holy Sepulcher at Eastertime, 
as did Azmey Bey. During that crucial week the Turkish authorities, 
kept the telegraph line free. Only urgent messages could be sent by the 
public. It was during this critical week that the Englishman was ac 
cused of entering the Moslem holy of holies. 

Before closing this episode I wish to draw attention again to Jacob, 
who, with his usual modesty, never disclosed or allowed anyone to 
mention that it was he who made it posible for Pere Vincent to give 
the world the benefit of the excavations on Mount Ophel by an expert 
mind and pen. 

Many years later the plot of ground bought by Baron Rothschild 
on Mount Ophel, covering the great swing of Hezekiah s tunnel, which 
it was thought might contain the tombs of the Kings of Judah, was laid 
bare to the rock under the able supervision of the Department of 
Archaeology of the Hebrew University, M. Clermont-Ganneau s 
theory was proved baseless. 

Mother wrote: 

Our friend Abu Hassan Insari has donned the green cloak. Since the 
Parker episode and the disgrace and imprisonment of his uncle the great 
sheik, he has been made chief sheik of the Dome of the Rock in his place. 
He was very pleased with himself and carried a heavy staff as tall as he is* 


FOR years Frederick and I had been talking about a camping trip 
across the Jordan and in May 1914 we planned our itinerary to cover 
as many historical places as possible in the time we could afford. 

We told friends of our plans, and almost before we were aware of it 
we were a party of fifteen. 

The cooks and muleteers started the evening before, after such jab 
bering that one might have thought they were going to cut one an 
other s throats, but which was actually only the best natured of con 
versations. They would be waiting camp for us, with dinner prepared, 
at the Jordan Bridge. 

A sirocco was blowing that morning when the party gathered before 
our house. The horses were fresh, and because they came from several 
livery stables, there was 3 great deal of snorting and kicking. Good-bys 
were many, for relatives and friends had come to watch the start of our 
cavalcade, and three among us who were mothers were leaving fifteen 

We left them in the gentlest of hands. Mother, smiling, watched us 

We rode past the familiar places the Mount of Olives, Geth- 
semane, Bethany. A rest in the hotel at Jericho at noon was followed 
by more riding in the cooling afternoon to the River Jordan. Much 
sacred lore crowds around this river that boasts of so little natural 
beauty. On either side semi-tropical thickets of tamarisk, poplar, and 
dwarf acacia, hid the swift stream, which runs like a green serpent 
through broken, scaly formations of gray clay. Then, winding our way 
around one of the queer clay formations on the banks of the Jordan, 
we found near the ridge and tollhouse our seven white tents, with the 
flags of the different nations our party represented floating above them. 

The friendly campfire, with the portly cook Yousef steaming above 
it, promised a lordly evening meal, which it proved to be. 

When we left the dining tent the moon was shining brightly over the 

Two Bedouin musicians, hanging about the Bedouin camp on the 
river, volunteered to amuse us. They were the professional type of 


singers, dancers, and jesters which every influential tribe possesses. 
They sang lustily, their voices sounding harsh and out of place in this 
quiet place. We gave them ample baksheesh to get rid of them, and 
they left shouting their displeasure to our muleteers for the pittance 
we had given for such magnificent entertainment. 

Afterward we sang songs and hymns, which seemed to us more in 
keeping with our surroundings. I suppose the Bedouins, listening in 
the dark, were laughing in their turn. They not only dislike our music, 
but consider a mixed choir most undignified. 

Long after the other tents were dark my husband and I sat on in 
the door of ours. The moon set behind the Judean hills, leaving us 
with the glow of the. stars and the flicker of the camp lanterns sus 
pended on poles to keep away jackals and hyenas. 

We spoke of the feelings of the Children of Israel when they came 
to the "swelling of Jordan" and by God s mighty hand were permitted 
to "cross on dry land" and entered upon new temptations to over 

Here Elijah was caught up in the chariot of fire, and Elisha obtained 
his blessing. We rejoiced that this, too, was the scene of a greater 
victory, when heaven opened and God sanctioned His son. 

The next day we crossed several watercourses, where pink oleanders 
were struggling to bloom. The winter rain having been less than usual, 
these streams were already dry. Where the waters of Heshbon rush 
across the plain toward the Jordan, and on through Wadi Sha ib, wild 
flowers began to appear again, and the sides of the road were spotted 
with poppies, daisies, and blue chicory flowers. We regretted that the 
spring was too far advanced for the scarlet tulips, anemones, lilies, and 
wild iris, some of the varieties of which are so deep in color that they 
are almost black. 

We stopped for lunch at Ayun Musa (Springs of Moses). This is 
supposed to be Nebo. "Pisgah s lofty peak" soared above us. Bedouin 
shepherds gathered to water their flocks "beside the still waters" and 
crowded round us with expressions such as we have when looking at 
monkeys, intrigued by our behavior. Our knowledge of Arabic enabled 
us to understand their comments. They marveled at our "black and 
yellow hands," and when we casually removed our gloves they looked 
shocked, as though they expected the blood to run in the skinning 
process. I took off my hat and they wondered why I uncovered my 
head before so many men. The women hid the lower part of their faces 
with their sleeves, as well-bred Bedouin women should when strange 
men are around, and they giggled with embarrassment when they saw 
my husband take my hand to help me over the loose stones in the 
brook and gently lead me to a seat. This, in their estimation, was 
humiliating to his lordship. 


The view here was magnificent the Jordan Valley and the Gilea- 
dian hills, blue in their distant beauty, to the mountains round 
Hebron, and the Dead Sea from Ain Jidy (Engedi) northward, glit 
tering like burnished steel at the southern end. This was the view 
Moses had of the land that was his goal. So far he could go, but never 
set his foot on it. What a lesson to every Christian! This man, the 
meekest that had ever lived, with the murmuring of a backsliding and 
complaining people continually in his ears; this man who had led 
them so far and had spoken to God "face to face," because of his 
impatience at their continual faultfinding was not allowed to pass over 
the dividing line. 

That afternoon we passed several Bedouin encampments. The dogs 
gave us an unwelcome challenge, but the inhabitants were always 
friendly, and when we greeted them with "Salam aleikum [Peace be 
unto you]," they answered "Ou aleikum es-salam [And unto you be 
peace]." It is rare in more civilized parts to have a Mohammedan use 
this greeting to a Christian. Mohammedans will use pleasant salutations 
such as "Good day," "May your day be blessed," but the "peace" is 
for the "faithful." 

The fields became greener as we mounted the hills, and the grain, 
despite the meager rainfall, was surprisingly luxuriant. Here reapers 
were at work at the barley harvest, while in the ghor (the rift of the 
Jordan Valley) all had been harvested. The contrast between the green 
wheat and the golden barley made the landscape one of uncommon 
beauty in the long rays of the declining sun. Crude little shelters were 
erected out of an abayeh or two fastened on poles, helped out with an 
isolated dom tree, or some branches and straw. We did not see one of 
these small abodes without babies and children in them; and when we 
thought of the care our little ones got, and compared it to what these 
received, we did not wonder at the enormous death rate among infants 
in this country. 

It is not tmcommon for Bedouin women to mother eight or twelve 
children, of which only two or three ever reach maturity. 

One of our attendants told us that his father had had three wives; 
each had given birth to eight, ten, or twelve children, and that out of 
the thirty children born, he and a younger brother and three sisters 
were the only survivors. 

Harvest time is the hardest season on the Bedouin babies, and many 
must suffer greatly, because they are a stalwart race, before they finally 
succumb. Another interesting fact we learned about these poor har 
vesters is that the Bedouins consider themselves too aristocratic to do 
such menial work as plowing, sowing, and harvesting, their vocation 
being war and raids, and that the peasants, some property poor, others 
displaced through the Jewish invasion of Palestine, come across the 


Jordan and work on shares for the village Bedouins. Others, who are 
still poorer, come as gleaners, and all that they gather, following the 
harvesters and clearing the corners of the fields, which are purposely 
left for them, they carry home for their own use. This is another relic 
of the Mosaic law. The Bedouins of the hills consider themselves far 
superior to the peasantry who live in villages. 

Once on the tableland, we were not far from Madeba, and were 
glad to see the conspicuous mound on which that small village stands. 

The modern village of Madeba, nestling among the ruins of earlier 
dates that speak of ancient wealth and grandeur, can boast of very 
little now that is attractive. 

The Greek Orthodox Church, close to the old northern gate of the 
city, covers the only remaining bit of the much-referred-to mosaic 
map. We were among the first people to see this on a previous trip. 
It was originally a map of Palestine and Egypt and dates from the 
fifth or sixth century. The present church was built upon the founda 
tions of an old basilica, and the mosaic map was the floor of the old 
church. It was sad to see how little of the mosaic map was left, 
covering two small patches in the floor of the present church, which 
is considerably smaller than the original basilica. Jerusalem is particu 
larly interesting in the map. A huge column is shown at the northern 
gate, and from there a colonnade runs through the city to the Holy 
Sepulcher. In Arabic this gate is still called Bab el Amud (Gate of the 

In the Old Testament Madeba is considered a Moabite town, and 
later, when Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh decided to 
return to this fertile tableland it was allotted to Reuben. When you 
see the magnificent plain, just the land for the cultivation of grain, you 
do not wonder that the tribes were attracted by it and would have 
been content to remain on the east side of Jordan without passing 
over and subduing the enemies before they could occupy the land 
of Canaan. This luxuriant land is different from Palestine, where 
stones and rocks give the country a barren appearance, Reuben and 
Gad were in continual warfare with the Moabites, who were forever 
molesting their territory, and in consequence Reuben disappeared 
from among the tribes of Israel. 

We know by the "Moabite Stone" that, toward the beginning of the 
ninth century B.C. Madeba belonged to Israel. Moab invaded the land 
at that time but was driven back by Omri across the Arnon, and 
became tributary throughout his reign and all Ahab s. Later it became 
a city of the Nabataeans. John Hyrcanus, son of Simon Maccabaeus, 
after defeating Demetrius and succeeding in establishing the inde 
pendence of Judea, turned to subdue his antagonistic neighbors, first 


attacking Madeba and the Jordan Valley, and then, marching on 
Shechem, succeeded in destroying the Samaritan temple on Mount 
Gerizim (120 B.C.). His alliance with Rome, which was begun by 
his uncle Judas and followed by his father Simon, who gave him 
paternal help in this work of subjugation, invested him with the needed 

The ruins of Madeba have been inhabited only since the year 1880 
by about two thousand Christian Bedouins from el-Kerak, mostly 
belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church. There are a few Roman 
Catholics, and they, too, have a presbytery and a school occupying the 
highest point on lie small hill. It is remarkable to see how these big, 
stalwart men and fine-looking women are willing to settle among the 
ruins with twenty or twenty-five feet of rubbish under them; without 
clearing the debris away they build a room or two, supplying the 
missing walls to a crumbling structure. Bits of exquisite mosaic floors 
are found in some of these miserable hovels, so dark, so dirty that 
candles had to be lighted and water used again, so that we could admire 
their unusual beauty. 

Upon our arrival in Madeba we had sent a letter to the sheik of our 
old friends the Adwan tribe, addressing it to the "Sheik Diab, son of 
Fiaz, son of Ali Diab Adwan." This was the grandson of Ali Diab 
Adwan whom we visited in 1884, when I was six years old. On their 
numerous visits to Jerusalem they stopped with us, and we extended 
the hand of fellowship to them, contrary to the Arabic proverb that 
"one should change the front door of one s house if a Bedouin got 
to know where it was." We have found their friendship most enjoyable 
and our kindness reciprocated through three generations of sheiks. 

On their visits they invariably disarmed themselves as soon as they 
came to the "house of peace" as they called the American Colony. In 
our large living room there was, oriental style, a long line of hooks, 
and on these they hung their swords, revolvers, rifles, and ammunition 
belts, daggers and knives. Anyone coming in at such a time, and not 
knowing the spirit of peace in which the weapons were put there, 
would have thought we were starting an armory. Once the tribesmen 
were in the city with grain to sell, and they brought a few hundred 
dollars to a Colony member to keep for them. Instinctively he started 
to count it, to be able to give them a receipt. They looked at him in 

"What are you doing?" they asked. "Do you want to insult us? Do 
we not trust you?" 

When they were ready to leave, they took the money without 
counting it. 

Sheik Diab received our letter and sent three servants to escort us 


to Heshbon, which is only a short ride from Madeba. Crossing the 
ridge of the tableland was one of the roughest parts of the whole trip. 
Our city horses trembled on the slippery rocks, while those of our 
Bedouin guides skipped over them like goats. 

I asked one of our three friends his name, judging from his fine 
sword and other arms that he belonged to the sheik s family. He 
answered, "I am your slave Mutlag." It was an unusual answer and I 
wondered at his humility. After a while I ventured another question: 
"Do you belong to Sheik Diab s family?" "No," he replied, "I am his 
slave; this is his sword; I carry it for him." Here, in the twentieth 
century, was the Bible made alive. An armor-bearer, like Saul s or 
David s, was guiding us to Heshbon. 

At the spring we were met by a delegation sent by the sheik, con 
sisting of his uncle and other notables and a number of servants. They 
led the way to the camp, where the black tents looked like huge 
spiderwebs fastened to the ground. They had chosen a small valley 
running north and south, where the high hills protected them from the 
west wind, still piercing and cold. 

Sheik Diab met us cordially, looking very proud, tall, and handsome 
in his rich flowing robe. A reception had been arranged in a tent one 
hundred and fifty feet long, furnished with carpets and low lounges. It 
was gay with its brightly colored carpets and mattresses covered with 
crimson and yellow silk, green velvet, and silk brocade of many hues. 
The women were busy cooking the "fatted calf," in this case a lamb, 
on the other side of the partition that separated the women s part from 
the men s. We were first served with lemonade, and Muflag s face 
beamed as he carried in a tray with three glasses. Contrary to their 
custom, but having learned it in their frequent visits to our home, it 
was passed to the ladies first. We drank, and without the glasses being 
washed, they were refilled and passed again, until all were served. 

Immediately after the lemonade was served faithful Mutiag brought 
in the muhbagh which they use instead of a coffee mill. It is made of 
a section of a walnut tree hollowed out and roughly carved on the put- 
side. A long handle cut to fit the cavity is ornamented with carvings 
and brass tacks. The coffee is put into the muhbagh, and in the 
presence of the visitors the coffee is pounded into a powder. Each 
stroke is in perfect rhythm to a song in praise of their honored guests. 
It is an art to be able to do this, and a special servant performs this 
duty. The coffeepot was brought and placed upon the ever-ready camp- 
fire, and soon our musical coffee was made. 

The serving of coffee is an important item in the entertainment 
of guests. Those who understand the etiquette of the coffee language 
get many significant hints regarding their friendship and as to the 
mood their host is in. A few drops of the coffee were poured into a 


little round cup without any handle, and from that into another, and 
after rinsing that cup out, were poured into another, and so on, until 
all had been rinsed, which Mutlag then drank, showing that there was 
no poison in the cups. 

One often hears the expression, "he died from a cup of coffee," and 
although it is not practiced as of old, the tradition still continues. 

All sipped bitter coffee, fragrant with orange-blossom water. In 
about half an hour the same performance was repeated, and at regular 
intervals, until the midday meal was ready. Fortunately for us the cups 
were not filled to the top, for it shows very bad taste to refuse any. 

Before lunch we made a tour of the different tents, pitched close 
together, and all smaller than the sheik s tents. In one we were wel 
comed by the sheik s aunt Fada, sister of Sheik Fiaz. She had been 
to our Colony and an amusing experience we had had with her. It was 
the first time she had seen st&ne buildings. We had a room ready for 
her on the second floor. She crawled up the stairs on her hands and 
knees, frightened to death, and on reaching the top, she sat down on 
the step and cried. 

"Please take me down," she pleaded; "I am so afraid these walls 
will fall on me." 

The fact that we had been living there for years did not convince 
Aunt Fada that the house would not immediately collapse and crush 
her. She was unhappy until we fixed a bed for her beneath a big fig 
tree in the garden, where she could feel safe under her familiar stars. 

She took us into her confidence. She said that she had come to 
Jerusalem, for she had heard that there existed a wonderful doctor 
who could put false teeth into one s mouth, and they would renew 
one s youth and beauty. Aunt Fada was anxious to know if this was 
true. We told her it was, and to verify our statement we pointed out one 
of Colony ladies so equipped. She was overjoyed, and coming over to 
the lady, begged her to let her try on the teeth. "Just once," she 
pleaded, so that she might know if she could use them, then she could 
tell the doctor to make some for her "just like the sitfs [lady s]." 

It was with difficulty we made the sheik s aunt understand that the 
doctor would have to make hers to fit her mouth, and that every mouth 
had a different shape. To her a mouth was a mouth, and she said she 
could tell the doctor to make it half the width of her finger smaller 
or larger, as needed. 

After many visits to the Colony dentist, she returned to her people 
carrying with her a complete set of false teeth. 

On this visit we found Aunt Fada in her tent smoking a long 
ghalune (pipe). Her husband had died, and there had been quite a 
fight over her, she had so many suitors. In the end she married a fine- 
looking man much younger than herself. 


Our meal was ready so we went back to the long black tent. In the 
center was a wooden bowl about twenty-four inches in diameter filled 
with rice cooked in broth, with a good deal of melted goat s butter 
poured over it and roasted snobar (pine-cone nuts). In another bowl 
was roast mutton with a beautiful rich gravy, and still another bowl 
had mutton cooked in tomato sauce. Fifteen wooden spoons stood up 
right in the rice, and all around this repast was placed what looked 
like sheets of some very coarse material folded up for napkins. This 
is the Bedouin bread. The Bedouins make an unleavened dough and 
bake it in thin cakes over a convex piece of sheet iron. This is sup 
ported by three stones over a charcoal fire. 

This must have been the bread, spoken of in the Old Testament, 
that Gideon baked for the angel. 

We were hungry notwithstanding our many sips of coffee, and we 
really enjoyed the meal. There were many longing eyes watching 
us, and the moment we were finished the Bedouin guests and two 
Turkish gendarmes, who had stopped in for refreshment and rest, fell 
upon the remainder. The real "pitching in," however, was when the 
servants, slaves, and children began. Such scrambling and grabbing, 
snatching and smacking of lips, we had never witnessed. Some of the 
men made huge balls of rice and by a toss of the thumb sent them 
down their throats. We thought the Bedouins must be provided with 
gizzards, for they did not take time to chew their food. If they per 
formed the unnecessary work of chewing, someone else might get an 
extra mouthful! 

Afterward the entire coffee ceremony was repeated, then we bade 
our host good night and retired to our tents, which were pitched in 
one of the beautiful orchards at the spring belonging to Muthafy, 
the sheik s cousin. 

Muthafy had been married a few months previous to our visit to 
Hafitha, Sheik Diab s sister, and paid an unusual price for his beautiful 
bride. The price was one thoroughbred mare, one modern rifle, two 
cows, one camel, one hundred and eighty sheep, one hundred and 
twenty goats, one hundred and twenty measures of wheat, eighty 
napoleons, which he was to pay back for the privilege of Muthafy s 
niece, a child about twelve years old, to be given in marriage to 
Hafitha s youngest brother. 

They were anxious to know what my husband had paid for me, and 
looked absolutely horror-struck when I showed them my wedding ring. 
They decided that a wife with us was a cheap luxury. But I said that 
before I allowed my husband to put that ring on my finger he had 
placed his heart in my hand. They appreciated such sentimental talk. 

As we sat in our own camp enjoying the beautiful moonlit evening, 
listening to the ripple of the water and the croaking of the frogs, we 


heard, in the distance, shooting, clapping, and the sound of hundreds of 
voices singing what might be a wedding song or a war challenge. Our 
unaccustomed ears could not tell the difference. We were not fright 
ened, although our twelve-year-old traveler became excited. We were 
soon surrounded by the sheik and all the men of the camp, who had 
come to entertain us. First they sang, in their weird monotone, songs 
in praise of their guests. "Our eyes were like the gazelle s"; "our 
tongues were as sweet as honey in the comb"; "our feet brought good 
fortune"; and so on. Now they were singing a wedding song; now they 
were singing how their old sheik, All Diab, had subdued his enemies, 
who were like the dust and the musician would take up a handful of 
dirt and throw it into the air. He was accompanied by an instrument 
made of wolf s skin, stretched over a wooden box with one gut string 
called rubabi which was played with a bow of horsehair. 

I remembered that once when Ziad, the tribe musician, was at the 
American Colony in Jerusalem, and we had "knocked on the box" 
(played on the piano) for them, they were anxious to show their ap 
preciation by giving us some of their music. The nearest we could 
come to a rubabi was a violin, which we gave to Ziad. After making 
several attempts at tuning it, he gave it up in disgust, saying, "This 
rubabi only speaks French; I can t make it speak Arabic." Now they 
had a chance to let us hear a real instrument and real singing, and 
they were pleased to show off. 

This was our opportunity to return coffee, and our Yousef was 
happy to be master of ceremonies, although we could not sing or pound 
the coffee and praise the guests in the orthodox Bedouin style. 

After the singing and dancing were over our Bedouin friends amused 
us by playing games. 

The evolution which our games had gone through made them almost 
unrecognizable. Instead of "cat and mouse" it was "hyena and lamb," 
and aU the horrible sounds that the animals made were introduced 
into the game. Two men dressed up to represent a wild boar dashed in 
among us with so much realism that we scattered. 

Our fear was always met with peals of laughter. After many games 
and exhibitions of high jumping, target shooting, and other desert 
sports, the sheik rose and took leave. 

This was the signal, and not one Bedouin remained seated after his 
lordship rose. A few minutes later we were alone in our camp, com 
menting and laughing over the very unusual and interesting evening. 
The voices we had heard a few hours before coming toward us were 
now dying away in the distance. They, too, sounded happy, and we 
toew our friendship with Sheik Diab s tribe had taken on another long 


We rode to Meshita, with its beautiful but mysterious castle, to Ziza, 
and el Humar. 

We strolled through Es Salt s narrow streets. 

The little shops looked gay with handkerchiefs of various designs 
and colors and red leather boots and slippers, regarded longingly by 
the Bedouins and Circassians who came from the neighboring camps 
and villages to barter wheat, barley, and fodder for them. 

Our camp nestled under two hills in a narrow valley, and we were 
glad of their protection that stormy night. The wind whistled and 
blew and the rain poured down. Those of us who were wise enough 
to place everything in the center of the tent reaped a dry harvest of 
clothes the next morning. 

Just as we started the sun came out, and we turned for a last view of 
Es Salt, with its vineyards emerald green with early summer and the 
fig and other fruit trees just putting out their leaves. 

Prominent on the horizon was Jebel Osha, the supposed burial place 
of the prophet Osha (Arabic for Hosea). The wali on the top of the 
hill is known to be three hundred years old, and is visited by Bedouins 
from all over the vicinity. The tradition must have been handed down 
from Jewish times. Hosea belonged to the northern kingdom, and 
speaks in his prophecies of the "vanity of Gilead although they sacrifice 
bullocks in Gilgal." Under the big oak tree which stands near the wali 
the Bedouins often deposit grain and other possessions, and no one 
would dare steal them their superstition about the evil which would 
follow a thief who had stolen from a "holy place" is sufficient to 
insure their safety. 

On the fertile plain called el Backaa, below the clay hills, we saw 
large flocks of black goats, but they were not "gratefully grazing on 
rocks," as Mark Twain described them in Innocents Abroad* but 
availing themselves of the good pasture they were to have for so short 
a time. This whole country seems wonderfully adapted to the raising 
of flocks, with ideal pasture land and abundant springs. 

We followed a roundabout way up the hills to the small Turcoman 
village of Umm Rummane, where our camp was waiting and we spent 
the night. 

We were actually on our way to Jerash! The morning was clear and 
sparkling after the storm, and the day dazzling, appropriate to its 
importance. For years Frederick and I had looked forward to this 
day. Along the road little plants and the buds on the trees lifted to 
drink the warm rays. The sun seemed to penetrate our souls, and we 
wondered how anyone could be unhappy on such a day. 

Almost in answer, Hassan, our muleteer, rode alongside with a 


philosophical admonishment. "Look at the land! Look at the trees! 
Look at the sky! Everything is praising God for the rain of yesterday 
and the sunshine of today. Only man is vile, he is not satisfied; he 
never thinks to lift his head to the Almighty and return thanks as 
everything else does. Even a chicken, when drinking, after each 
mouthful lifts its head to Allah and says el hamdulillah. Beni Adam 
(son of man) is satisfied only when a bit of soil [the grave] gets into 
his eye." 

So saying, our Hassan cast a meaning eye in the direction of the 
camp attendants and muleteers. There had been more cursing and 
quarreling this morning than on any previous day. 

We passed a spring on the road where were gathered the Turcoman 
women from the village on the hill where we had spent the night. 

Over a fire, and supported on two good-sized stones, was a Standard 
Oil tin for boiling their clothes. They were busy as bees and happy as 
birds, jabbering in their quaint language which sounded like a jargon 
of Turkish, Russian, and Arabic. Their full and brightly colored 
bloomers, tight-fitting jackets of contrasting hue, broad girdles, and 
heavy turbans, gave beautiful touches of color to this peaceful scene. 
How different was this medley of color from the somber blue of the 
Bedouin women s dress! The activity and energy of their work were 
also contrasts to the slow, stately movements of the bedouweyeh. We 
left the merry crowd behind us, perfectly happy in their small world. 
How soon this peace was to be disturbed by World War I. 

We came to the brow of a hill, and were gazing down a steep 
ravine where flowed the River Jabbok, hidden from view by oleander 
bushes covered with beautiful pink and white blossoms. 

The memories clustering around this lonely ravine are many. Here 
Jacob came from the land of Haran, with his wives and children, 
maidservants and menservants, sheep, goats, cattle, and camels, and 
here he allowed the whole caravan to pass over, and he remained 
alone to wrestle with doubts and fears. Here he became master over 
hate and revenge. Here he fought and conquered, and was able to meet 
in peace the brother who had lightly esteemed God s heritage to him 
and had sold it for a "mess of pottage," then, seeing he had lost his 
blessing, turned to have his revenge on Jacob. Here Jacob wrestled 
"till the breaking of the day," and God met him "face to face." When 
Jacob laid his sacrifice of a broken will on his altar, the dreaded 
meeting on the morrow was with a friendly and gentle brother. 

Just before reaching Jerash, within sight of its magnificent Trium 
phal Arch, we turned to the right that we might see the pretty waterfall 
in the Wadi Keirawan, or Wadi Jerash. Coming, as we did, from Jeru 
salem, where our only water supply was rain caught in cisterns and 


treasured to supply our needs during the whole dry season, it is no won 
der that running water green with lichen and fern gave us so much 
pleasure. We passed through wheat fields which were a delight to be 
hold, the unripe ears reaching to our knees as we rode. Our poor horses 
were tempted, and against our efforts stole a mouthful now and then. 
Fortunately for us, the people of this country consider it wrong to 
refuse a passing horse this privilege. These are the people who keep up 
the traditions and customs of the Bible. It is among the Arabs that we 
see, at the present time, remnants of the Mosaic law in practice. 

Jerash rose before us now across the plain, the entrance with its 
large dome and its historical Triumphal Arch still fronting the fabulous 

Frederick and I had begun planning to go to Jerash since the day 
we had heard, years before, Dr. George Robbinson, professor of Old 
Testament of McCormick Theological Seminary of Chicago, and in 
that year director of the American School of Oriental Research in 
Jerusalem, lecture on the mysterious place, illustrating his talk with 
lantern slides. 

His fascinating description of a city deserted of all but the past 
had made us long to see for ourselves. 

We stood a long time admiring the Triumphal Arch. 

Its similarity to that of Trajan s in Rome dates its erection to about 
the second century. To the west of this gate was the Naumachia, to 
which the water from Wadi Keirawan was conducted by means of an 
aqueduct, and here the pleasure seekers of Jerash witnessed sham sea 
fights and miniature galleys. Adjoining the Naumachia is a large ckcus 
with four rows of seats. We had heard how excellent the acoustics were 
in the Southern Theater, so we improvised a choir, which left very 
few of the party to occupy the splendidly preserved rows of seats and 
backs. Our soloist performed several selections, and after some recita 
tions, carefully chosen, we felt sure that the comedies of Plautus or 
Aristophanes must have been wonderfully represented here. 

The Temple, now called Beit et Tei, with columns with Corinthian 
capitals that are beautiful, more than any other building seems to 
speak of destruction by earthquake which archaeologists believe may 
be the answer to the sudden desertion of a thriving city. 

We wandered, silent, through the splendid Forum, with most of its 
fifty-six Ionian columns still standing through the Colonnade, the 
magnificent Temple of the Sun, the Basilica. 

The monuments about us testified mutely of grandeur, a city of 
surpassing beauty, a civilization complete but departed. These ruins 
had held a few centuries of luxury, culture, and prosperity for a rich 
and pleasure-loving populace, and then, a sudden interruption, so 


mysterious and final, that it left a magnificent empty shell of a city that 
had once been splendid. 

What happened to Jerash, or Gerasa, is one of the mysteries of 

Jerash is first mentioned in history when Alexander Jannaeus, of 
the Maccabean line, captured the country in 83 B.C. It was rebuilt 
after the Roman conquest of Syria and Palestine under Pompey, 
about 63 B.C., when Jewish raids and wars had reduced the entire 
northern area to ruins. The Romans drove the inhabitants out and 
wrecked their cities and villages exactly as the Jews did in Palestine 
in 1948. The Roman conquest, therefore, was hailed as deliverance 
from a hated rule. The towns and territory captured by the Jews were 
separated, and some of the destroyed towns were rebuilt. Conquest 
ended the independence of the free city states which were separated 
from the Seleucid .Empire. They voluntarily entered upon a defensive 
league with Rome for security and also because of local quarrels 
among themselves, while retaining their civil rights and customs. At 
first there were ten cities leagued together, called the Decapolis, of 
which Jerash was one. It was one of the most important cities of 
Syria, being situated on the great Roman road. Its most prosperous 
period seems to have been early in the Christian era. 

Jerash was captured by Baldwin II in 1121, when the Moslems 
fortified the temple of Artemis. When we hear of it again it is from 
an Arabian geographer named Nakut, and he speaks of it as being 

Our next camp was at Ajlun, beside a lovely stream* From Qalat 
ar-Rabad majestically surmounting the village of Ajlun we had a per 
fect view of tibte surrounding country. A sharp east wind was blowing 
from the desert, making visibility sharp and clear. Standing on the 
ramparts of the Saracen castle begun in 1184 on the site of a still older 
foundation, we enjoyed the most perfect view of Palestine it has ever 
been my good fortune to see. 

Snow capped Mount Hermon rose to the north representing Dan, 
and we could see the seashore south of Gaza representing the com 
plete area from "Dan to Beersheba." 

Qalat ar-Rabad was the most important of the Saracen fortresses 
in Trans-Jordan. An inscription tells that it was repaired by Saladin. 
It was called Arx Ayjlun by the Crusaders. It formed one of the links 
in the chain of beacons and pigeon posts from the Euphrates to Cairo 
by which the Sultan in Cairo could be notified in twelve hours of any 
attack on the Euphrates frontier. 

In 1260 it was destroyed by the Tartar invasion but was restored and 
inhabited until the beginning of the nineteenth century. 


From Ajlun we descended to the Jordan Valley, crossed the river 
in a primitive ferry, and followed the valley to Nablus, in which, 
within so short a time after this happy trip through Gilead, General 
Allenby caught and destroyed the Turkish Army, the army which we 
were to see retreat from Jerusalem. 


WE RETURNED from our trip radiant with its success and sun 
burned beyond recognition. Our two-year-old Louise put her finger on 
my cheeL "Dirty! Wash!" 

With no radio, and mails still irregular an irregularity to which we 
were well accustomed it was not surprising that we took not a ripple 
of interest in the killing of an Austrian archduke and archduchess that 
summer of 1914 in the obscure town of Sarajevo, a place of which I 
had never heard, until, in the latter part of July, things began to move 
and Palestine began filling with German military personnel, engineers, 
and mysterious persons. 

Several German students were living at the American Colony to 
learn to speak English. One was about to be married. The plans were 
all made for the wedding; the invitations were sent out; even the 
cakes were baked, the chickens roasted, and other goodies for the 
wedding breakfast prepared. 

We had heard that war was to be declared, but the date was kept 
secret. So hush-hush was it that every effort was made by the German 
guests to keep it from the American Colony by acting normally* 
The night of the second of August they all appeared for supper. 
Next morning before breakfast these German men, including the 
intended bridegroom, had gone. They had departed secretly for 
Jaffa, where a German man of war took all the men of military 
age back to the Fatherland. 

That day, we learned later, Germany invaded France. 

It may be remembered that when Germany declared war on the 
Allies, Turkey officially declared her neutrality, but started general 
mobilization at once. We had often seen Turkish recruits or re 
serves being brought to Jerusalem tied together or handcuffed like 
criminals. Now we heard that sealed letters had been given to the 
muktars (headmen) of cities and villages. These were to be opened 
on notification and when the contents were known the threat must 
have frightened them into compliance, for this was the first time in 
our long residence in Palestine that we saw "voluntary" mobilization 
of troops. 


Mother was spending a few weeks at the Kaiser s and Kaiserin s 
palace on the Mount of Olives, which was used as a sanatarium, 
especially for missionaries and Christian workers. It was beauti 
fully run and inexpensive; only twenty-five piasters ($1.25) a day, 
including three meals as well as afternoon tea or coffee. Frederick 
and I drove up in our carriage and brought Mother home; in a 
crisis such as this we preferred all being together. 

By October the foreign post offices were closed and letters, docu 
ments, and accounts were confiscated. Before this we had had to go 
to several different places to get our mail, to the Austrian, French, 
German, and Russian post offices. There was no mail delivery. 
We were completely cut off from the world. 

After the abrogation of the capitulations and seizing of foreign, 
post offices people were sure Turkey would soon join the conflict, 
and the subjects of the allied powers were advised by their respective 
consulates to leave the country. I cannot remember exactly when the 
British Consul left Palestine, but it was before the actual declara 
tion of war by Germany. The few British nationals who remained 
behind were closely watched and many who had benefitted by 
English schools and hospitals were induced to spy on them. 

One of Saint George s schoolboys (Saint George s Boys School 
is a primary and secondary school conducted by the Anglican 
Cathedral of Saint George in Jerusalem) heard that two cannons 
were stationed in front of the altar in Saint George s Cathedral, a 
short distance from the American Colony. I saw a group of Turkish 
officials going toward the cathedral and wondered what the trouble 
could be. They had workmen with shovels and pickaxes with them. 
We heard later that these worthy gentlemen dug a pit in front of 
the altar but found nothing. 

The informant had mistaken the meaning of the word "canon. * 

Canon Hichens, brother of Robert Hichens, author of The Garden 
of Allah, was standing at the door of his beloved cathedral, never 
dreaming that he was one of the "cannons" they were looking for. 

Long after the war was over this pit had a carpet thrown over it 
and it was shown to visitors, but it has since been covered up. 

Canon Hichens and Mr. Reynolds, headmaster of Saint George s 
School, were the last British nationals to leave, and would have 
been held as hostages but for the intervention of Dr. Otis A. Glaze- 
brook our American Consul. 

Dr. Glazebrook helped the British subjects in Palestine after their 
consul left. He told us that the most difficult person in power was 
Hassan Bey, the "Tyrant of Jaffa," so called because of his many 
cruel acts and because he desecrated three cemeteries to immortalize 
his memory and built the Hassan Bey mosque, in the Manshieh 


Quarter between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, where later there was to be 
so much trouble and bloodshed. Dr. Glazebrook said that he "kept 
his arm around Hassan Bey s shoulders" until the last British subjects, 
Canon Hichens and Mr. Reynolds, got away. Hassan Bey was deter 
mined to hold them as hostages. 

Several years later Canon Hichens wrote in a letter in my husband s 
behalf: that he and several others 

were in considerable danger at the outbreak of war, and I was picked out 
with one or two, to go to prison at Haifa, but was rescued from it by the 
American Consul. While in danger Mr. Vester of the Colony begged Mr. 
Reynolds, headmaster, and me to come and live with him that he might 
feed and protect us. He thus exposed himself to the anger of the German 
community and the Consul General at a time when all supposed that 
Germany would prove victorious. He also refused to fight on the ground 
that the war had been unjust and said that he preferred to be shot. Later 
on he and Mrs. Vester helped us in every way, and even hid me in their 
barn premises when the Turks wished to carry me off. During the war they 
nursed and helped British prisoners, stored property of British subjects, 
and openly refused to take part in any unjust or hostile acts. 

Therefore it would be a great pleasure and profit if he could be 

On November 3, 1914, a telegram from the British Foreign 
Office to the British Consulate revealed that Turkey had declared 
war against the Allies and the Consulate, which had been left in 
the hands of the British dragoman, who was a Turkish subject, 
should be handed over to the Consul of the United States of America. 
The Turks were especially anxious to get hold of the archives of 
the British Consulate, but they were too late everything had been 
burned. Dr. Glazebrook, took charge of British interests in Palestine. 
I helped Dr. Glazebrook pack away tlie silver, carpets, and valuables 
belonging to some of the English community, who had left in haste. 
Frederick and I took charge of the silver crosses and chalices of Saint 
George s Cathedral and the title deeds of one institution after another. 
First we took those of the property of the Dominican Fathers and the 
French Ecole Biblique et Archeologique, which was commandeered 
by the Turks, and for a time was used as government offices, then 
those of the enormous property belonging to the Sisters of Saint 
Joseph and the Notre Dame de France and others. I remember my 
husband saying we had the title deeds of property worth several 
millions of pounds. 

One evening the caretaker of the house of an English neighbor 
who had left for safety whispered to us over the wall dividing our 
gardens that she had heard a Turkish officer was going to commandeer 
the house. Would we take charge of the silver and carpets? We con- 


sented, but as a precaution waited until evening. It was a bright 
moonlight night and we had the silver safely over the wall and were 
rolling the carpets when we heard a loud banging at our neighbor s 
front door. We had only just time to put the carpets on our side of 
the wall in the dark shadows cast by the moonlight when the officer 
and his entourage entered. 

After the war our neighbor returned and was grateful. She was one 
of the few English residents who recovered all her valuables. 

I have mentioned that my husband was of German-Swiss parentage; 
his father and mother were missionaries and he was born in Palestine. 
Frederick had been in Germany for only the short period covering 
the compulsory military service, with which every German subject, 
even those living outside of the Fatherland, had to comply. He had 
been a member of the American Colony for twenty years when the war 
began, and the influence on him was exactly the same as though he 
had been living in the United States. To all intents and purposes, 
except legally, he was an American, and when war was declared on 
the third of August 1914 it was his birthday, and he was forty-five 
years old, the exact age to put him above the conscription limit. We 
realized how narrow was the margin between eligible men for the 
Army and those above age limit when a representative from the Ger 
man Consulate interviewed my mother-in-law to ascertain the hour 
Frederick was born. 

The accident of birth put Frederick on the wrong side of the 
conflict. All his sympathies were with the Allies. His religious training 
had unfitted him to accept a mandate which went against Ms 

At first he thought he could just keep quiet, and his belief was no 
one s business but his own. We thought the war would be over in 
a few months, by Christmas at the latest. 

The Sunday afternoon after the fall of Namours which followed so 
rapidly upon the fall of Liege, German krieg geist rose to hysterical 
heights. Frederick and I were convinced that we could no longer keep 
quiet; we decided there was only one way for us, and that was to 
stand by what we thought was right. We did not feel the invasion of 
Belgium was right; nor the tearing up of treaties as a "scrap of 
paper" honest. 

It was a terrible stand for Frederick to take. His mother, although 
Swiss, was heart and soul with Germany. Both of us hated to hurt her 
feelings, but we felt there was only one road we could travel. 

On that Sunday afternoon Frederick and I went to the Probst s 
house. The Probst was the pastor of the German Lutheran community. 
He and his wife kept open house on Sunday; it was the chief gather- 


ing place for the Germans and we knew we should meet many there. 
We intended to make a clean breast of our feelings and take the 

We had even calculated that the consequence might be death for 

As we entered we heard excited conversation and many voices 
talking at once. The German Consul General and his wife, the 
German doctor, some German officers, and others were sitting at 
tables drinking coffee. I was shown to a table with the Probst s wife, 
and Frederick sat at the table with the Probst and the Consul 
General. I had my back to them, but my heart was pounding 
and my nerves tingling with expectation. I do not know exactly what 
my husband said but I heard the Probst come down on the table 
with his fist. All the cups and saucers clattered. There was a 
scraping of chairs and everyone in the room stood up. All present 
had heard the Probst s rebuke and I surmised what Frederick had said. 
The men s faces blanched with fury. 

I put my hand out to say good-by to my hostess, but she held her 
hand behind her. We got out immediately. If they could have an 
nihilated us with looks, we should have been dead. Although both of 
us knew the seriousness of our deed and comprehended what the 
consequences could be, we both felt happier, as we stepped outside 
the front door, than we had been since that awful third of August. 

For the next few days nothing happened. 

Then the German Consul General sent for Frederick; he told him he 
was a fool to express himself, but he sympathized with him, for he, 
too, had lived many years outside of Germany and realized how 
changed Frederick s sentiments had become by his being a member 
of the American Colony for twenty years. For a time Frederick was 
not interfered with. 

Immediately after Turkey s declaration of war all the men of 
military age of Turkish nationality were drafted into the Army. 
Theoretically, under the young Turkish regime all Turkish sub 
jects were equal, without regard to religious beliefs, but when the 
test came there was a difference. Christians and Jews were not 
trusted to carry arms in the same manner as the Moslem subjects but 
were mustered into labor corps. They built roads, they even carried 
loads. I remember once when a contingent of Christian and Jewish 
men, all loaded with bundles of provisions for the fighting troops 
started on their trek to Beersheba, that they passed the sarai (govern 
ment offices) where the Montasarif (governor of the province) had 
his office. To draw his attention to their ignoble and humiliating 
position, they all started to imitate donkeys braying. It worked 
I never heard again of human, pack animals. 


Women were doing men s work. 

The first attack on the Suez Canal by the Turks, which was re 
pulsed by the British, took place on the second of February 1915. 
The railroad was incomplete from Constantinople and the Turkish 
troops accomplished an almost impossible trek from Constantinople 
to the Suez Canal. There were long stretches which had to be done 
on foot. The whole Army, with its ordnance loaded on mules, 
donkeys, and camels, passed the American Colony. We were situated 
on the main artery. Grace and other women of the Colony stood for 
hours handing out cups of water to these tired, footsore, and weary 
soldiers. Often an officer would come and urge them on by using 
a whip. 

Soon after the war started the coastal cities, Jaffa, Gaza, Haifa, 
and all the smaller cities and villages were evacuated, and their inhab 
itants came pouring into Jerusalem. Tel Aviv was then a small town, 
consisting of one main street and about twenty houses. The attraction 
to Jerusalem was the different convents, monasteries, and the Ameri 
can Colony with the possibility of relief coming from these institu 

In the summer of 1915 my husband and I with the children camped 
on Mount Scopus for two weeks in a pine forest belonging to the 
White Fathers, a Roman Catholic order of Algerian missionaries 
who conducted a men s college for Greek Catholics inside Saint 
Stephen s gate. The term "forest" is applied in tree-shorn Palestine 
to any small wood or copse, natural or artificial. This property, which 
includes the ancient Pool of Bethesda and a perfectly preserved 
Crusader church, was a gift from Turkey to the French Government 
and is now the official French Cathedral. This was commandeered by 
the Turks, but we got permission to camp in the forest. Often as we 
sat in the moonlight we could hear the heavy bombardment taking 
place along the coast near Gaza. 

On our return, with the help of our friend Dr. Koenig, editor of 
the Christian Herald, we were able to open an industry among the 
women whose husbands, fathers, and brothers were in the Army and 
labor corps. There were many native embroideries and needle-thread 
lace which we felt could be improved and made attractive to Western 
purchasers. We heard that an American vessel was coming to Jaffa, and 
our idea was to pack a trunkful of these articles and send them to the 
United States to be sold, and thus keep up an industry among the 
women as long as America stayed out of the European war. The 
vessel never came; war conditions changed plans from day to day, 
but the trunk was packed. 

The industry was kept up, employing more than three hundred 
women, until they got too hungry and emaciated to work. 


It was while I and other members of the Colony were giving out 
work to these women that I must have brought an infection to our 
little daughter Tanetta, now about seven years old. It was just before 
Christmas, that first year of the war. We had no electricity, no kero 
sene, and candles were very scarce. We reverted to the Biblical lamps 
like those used by the wise and unwise virgins, only ours were im 
provised out of sardine tins with two holes, one for the wick and one 
for oil, and filled with sesame oil. Frederick and I had five children 
at this time and no way of buying anything to make Christmas seem 
usual and normal. So I was making Christmas presents out of odds 
and ends. 

Tanetta had come back from school that afternoon flushed and hot. 
I soaked her feet in a hot mustard bath and put her to bed. I was 
sewing on some dolls* clothes, keeping very close to the wick of the 
lamp- Frederick was near me and was reading Dickens s Christmas 
Carol aloud. We were trying hard to get into the Christmas spirit when 
the nurse came down to say that she feared Tanetta was very ill. She 
was exceedingly hot and seemed delirious. The thermometer showed 
that her fever was as high as it could possibly go; I knew it could not 
go much higher and she still live, but what alarmed me most was that 
she was cold up to her knees. 

Jerusalem was under martial law. Not a soul was on the street, 
but we had to have a doctor. There was no telephone, so Frederick 
started out into that ominous darkness. He found our doctor ill and 
unable to come, but our friend Dr. Canaan, a Christian Arab, and a 
graduate of the American University of Beirut, was in the Turkish 
Army at the time, and was luckily home on leave. When he examined 
Tanetta he confirmed my fears that she had either spotted typhus or 
smallpox. He said that whichever malady it proved to be we must 
start quarantine at once. 

By this time it was 2 A.M. Frederick went to the Colony, which was 
only two minutes walk north of our house, and roused first Mother 
and then the rest of the Colony members. Our four remaining chil 
dren were awakened, dressed, and taken over to the Colony. I stayed 
to nurse Tanetta. The plan was for Frederick to remain downstairs in 
our house and be the liaison between me and the outside world. The 
worst fear anguish beyond words was that the Turkish sanitary 
authorities would take our child away to the pesthouse, from which 
she would not return. 

Our two loyal servants refused to leave. Next morning I told 
Ahmed to buy all the Turkey-red material he could find. I remem 
bered reading that if red light was used smallpox would not pit, and 
before Dr. Canaan came next morning I had red curtains over all the 
windows and the door. He was pleased with my precaution, and Fred- 


erick and I could never cease being grateful to Dr. Canaan for pledg 
ing to the Turkish sanitary authorities that he would be responsible 
for the case, that strict quarantine would be observed, and that the 
whole American Colony would be vaccinated; so they were satisfied to 
leave Tanetta at home to be nursed. 

It was soon certain that she had a bad attack of smallpox. 

Dr. Canaan prescribed the necessary ointment and we were able 
to fill the prescription just twice; there was no more to be had any 
where in Jerusalem. 

I sat by her bed and by the hour sang very softly the hymn she 
loved best, "There s a Land That Is Fairer Than Day." 

No one else in the Colony caught the infection, and we were a 
united family for Christmas, which was the best present we could have 
been given. 

A few months after Tanetta s recovery my husband and our son 
John were taken ill with typhoid malaria. It was a dangerous combi 
nation. Frederick lay unconscious in one room and in another John 
tossed in delirium. I was expecting my sixth child. 

The doctor called me aside one day after leaving Frederick s room. 

"You must be brave," he told me. "You must bear up because of 
another life." 

He was convinced that Frederick s heart was failing and he could 
not pull through. 

When the doctor left I went into the library. Mother was there. I 
must have looked utterly dejected and hopeless. Mother did not know 
what the doctor had told me, but she came over and looked into my 

"Bertha," she asked, in her deep, wonderful voice, "is God dead?" 

"No, Mother," I answered, "God is not dead," and remembering 
that, I went out into the garden. I do not know how long I was there; 
I lost count of time. Suddenly the window of my husband s sickroom 
opened and Sister Lottie spoke to me. "Your husband is asking for 

Frederick was conscious for the first time in days. 

He grew rapidly better, John s fever turned, and both were quite 
recovered when two months later Frieda, our youngest, was born. 
Although I had passed through sore trials and had insufficient food, 
Frieda is one of the healthiest and happiest of our six children. 

During these troubled wartimes, while Jerusalem was under martial 
law from sundown to sunrise, one night about two o clock our door 
bell rang. This was so unusual that the whole family wakened and 


went to find out what the matter was. Frederick, now quite recovered 
from his illness, opened the door to find two Jews standing there. 

We recognized them as sons of a patriarchal old Jew from Bokhara 
who was a friend of ours. He had come to Palestine about ten years 
before this and built an enormous house in the new western suburb 
of Jerusalem. He imported Bokharan jewelry which we sold for him 
at our store, receiving a commission. The jewelry was crude and 
garish but sought after by American tourists. It was composed of un 
cut emeralds and rubies set in almost pure gold with pearls and 
diamonds and other precious stones. Necklaces, bracelets, pendants, 
and earrings were the most attractive bits. Some of them were en 
hanced with fine enamelwork. 

Old Moses was devoted to Frederick. Now he was ill and on his 
deathbed, and he wanted Frederick to come to him before he died. I 
was worried to have my husband go out on the dark street unprotected 
at such an unusual time and under such dangerous conditions, but 
Frederick would not refuse the wish of a dying man. 

He did not return until breakfasttime next morning, then, after a 
hot bath and a shave and over a cup of hot (so-called) coffee, he told 
me what had taken place. He said it was like seeing the Bible lived. 
He had found Moses with only a short time to live, "propped up 
against many pillows." His wife and sons and daughters with their 
wives and husbands and all the grandchildren were gathered round the 
bed, mourning and beating their bosoms and heads. 

When Moses saw Frederick enter the room, he smiled and said 
between pauses for labored breath, "I knew you would not refuse 
me as you see, I am to be gathered to my fathers." 

While he spoke, the noise subsided. Everyone was eager to hear 
what important thing Moses was going to say to this "goy." He con 
tinued, "My children are good children. Their mother is like Sarah, 
a virtuous woman. She must be taken care of. But as soon as I am 
gone my children will quarrel over my possessions. The property is 
arranged for, but here" pointing to a dirty linen serviette tied to 
gether and bulging with something inside "is all the jewelry which I 
have. It is worth many thousands of pounds. This I give to you to 
keep. After seven days of mourning are over you will call my sons 
and daughters and divide it equally among them. They must abide by 
your division. It is final." 

Frederick wanted to give Moses a receipt for the jewelry, but the 
old man refused. "Don t insult me," he said. "I trust you as I always 

Frederick had carried home the valuable bundle so casually 
wrapped in the serviette. After breakfast he took it to the office and 
locked it in the safe until the seven days of mourning were completed, 


for old Moses died that same day. Then, just as he had been in 
structed, he summoned the family and divided the jewelry and they 
abode by Frederick s decision. 

Many years after this Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, the United States 
Consul General and his wife, gave a fancy-dress entertainment. 
Frederick and I decided to go in Bokhara costumes, and he told 
Moses s daughter Sarah. She entered enthusiastically into our plan. 
She brought gorgeous garments and expensive jewelry and insisted 
in dressing me herself. I was afraid to be responsible for so much, but 
Sarah insisted upon my wearing all her beautiful gems. Some of the 
pieces, she said, were what she had gotten in the final division after 
her father s death. 

We caused quite a sensation at the party. 

It was while I was sitting alone for so many hours nursing Tanetta 
through smallpox and thinking of what was ahead of us as war pro 
gressed, knowing that with each day conditions were growing worse 
in Jerusalem and in the world, that I conceived the idea of writing 
our friend Mr. Edward F. Loud of Oscoda, Michigan, asking him if 
he would collect funds to enable us to maintain a soup kitchen in the 
American Colony. 

It was unthinkable to continue aid through giving work to the 
women. By this time they were too hungry to work. Also, that winter 
Palestine had the worst locust visitation in generations, and grain was 
scarce. We had been giving bread and soup and other necessities to 
Mohammedans and Christians and Jews who came in crowds to our 
doors daily. Among these needy Jews were the Gadites, a large num 
ber of whom we were still helping. 

All this effort was insufficient, and our funds were finished* All 
avenues of work or income were sealed, meanwhile the demands upon 
us were increasing. 

I wrote a letter to Mr. Loud which he did not receive until much 
later. At the same time Mr. Loud in Michigan was wondering how 
he could help the American Colony. Through the State Department he 
sent word to Dr. Glazebrook our American Consul and that Decem 
ber, in the darkest hour the Colony had known, the Secretary of State 
in Washington wrote Dr. Glazebrook, instructing him in behalf of 
Mr. Loud to "inquire of the American Colony in Jerusalem whether 
they are in need of help, and if they need money, how much is re 

As Jacob wrote in answer: 

When we received your letter through the Consul, it was read aloud 
at the table. -No words can convey to you the awe that hushed us. The ram 
caught in the thicket did not speak more clearly with God s voice to 


Abraham, and no sheep could more clearly hear the sound of its shepherd s 
staff than we did perceive God s care and intervention. 

Besides loaning five thousand dollars to Colony members, Mr. 
Loud began collecting funds from other friends in Michigan to enable 
us to keep our soup kitchen open. 

Here are excerpts from letters I wrote Mr. Loud in 1917, before 
the United States entered the war: 

If you could stand one day at our gate, and see the pleasure on the 
gaunt faces, as they go away with their pails and saucepans filled with the 
nutritious soup, enough to satisfy their family, it would repay you for your 
trouble. When I last wrote we were giving soup to four hundred people 
daily. Since then we have every day been obliged to increase the number, 
until Saturday (day before yesterday) there were eleven hundred and 
eighty-six souls who were fed. All the last week there were from nine 
hundred to one thousand daily. Working among the poor as we have, in 
and around Jerusalem for so many years, we get to know them all per 
sonally. However, we are cautious about accepting new applicants, and 
several of the sisters make it their duty to visit the homes and see exactly 
what they need. The deplorable condition of these homes is shocking. 
Americans cannot conceive, even by trying to imagine, what the reality is. 

Two years ago, when distributing money from the Christian Herald, 
and last year, when conducting the Industrial Relief Work, we thought 
conditions could not get much worse. We have learned differently. It 
would be impossible to carry on an industrial relief work now. The 
people are not in a condition to work. It is now simply keeping soul and 
body together. In some cases our assistance helps; in other cases it is too 
late. I wish I could send you some of the numerous letters of application 
we get daily. In the midst of the misery we have to smile when they say, 
for instance, that they "have the pleasure to inform us that my husband, 
he dead, and my children, they starving." 

My husband and Mr. Whiting were fortunate in being able to buy a 
few tons of beans and lentils, but they will last only until Wednesday. 
We have spent more than the one thousand dollars, the first installment 
for the soup kitchen. We were very glad to see by your letter, which came 
last night, that we could expect about five hundred dollars more. Some 
may think it would be wiser to limit the number of recipients and thus 
make the money last longer. This one could only advise from a distance 
where you do not see the applicants. It is utterly impossible to refuse. 

In another letter: 

It is the babies and children who suffer. They have had no part in 
bringing about this sad state of affairs. Their appealing glances would 
break hearts of stone. 

The Gadite or Yemenite Jews and the Morocco and Aleppo Jews are 
the worst cared for among that class. A large number come daily to our 
soup kitchen. It is a motley crowd that gathers there every day. Poverty is 


a class and creed leveler. I used to speak in my letters to Mr. Koenig, 
editor of the Christian Herald, about the "bashful elite * who were ashamed 
to come and get work at the same time as their less fortunate sisters (in 
social class only), and wanted to be let in through another door, or re 
ceived on another day. Now they are not only willing, but consider them 
selves fortunate if they are granted a soup ticket. 

We make no distinction in nationality or creed, the only requirement 
being if they absolutely need the help. We have Syrians and Arabs, both 
Mohammedans, Latins and Greeks, and Armenians, Russians, Jews, and 

Our friends in the United States responded to Mr. Loud s appeal 
and we were able to feed increasing numbers, until two thousand four 
hundred men, women, and children were receiving food every day 
from the American Colony. 

We borrowed from the Armenian Convent the large copper caul 
drons they used to cook food for their pilgrims during the pilgrimage 
season. We started cooking the soup about five in the morning, and 
refilled the large cauldrons several times. I wrote Mr. Loud: 

It shows the increase in poverty, when last year the Jews would not 
take our cooked soup, but asked for the uncooked cereals, while this year 
they are eager and grateful to get it. 

In the spring of 1917 it became apparent that America was pre 
paring to enter the war and Mr. Loud wrote he feared he could not 
send any more funds. We were wondering how we could carry on the 
soup kitchen, when a German major called at the American Colony 
and announced that it must be closed. 

The kitchen was American propaganda, he claimed, and to our 
protests that it was nothing of the kind, but a purely humanitarian 
measure, he turned a deaf ear. 

The major was .one of the Germans who had been a pupil learning 
English at the American Colony when war had been declared in 1914 
and they had left so mysteriously and suddenly. 

Some time after this call we learned he had been made German 
Ambassador to Iraq. 


EARLY in April 1917 Dr. Glazebrook called on Mother and ad 
vised her, as well as the other members of the American Colony,, to 
leave Palestine and go into safety. He said we must look forward 
eventually to an Allied victory, and a retreating Turkish Army would 
be an unpleasant thing to encounter. He was giving the same advice to 
all the other American citizens living in Palestine. 

Mother asked him if he was ordering her to leave. He replied that 
he could not order her to do anything. 

"Americans don t order their citizens," he said. "I wish I could. But 
I strongly advise you and your companions to leave." Mother thought a 
moment and then answered that as she had left her country to be of 
service to the people of Palestine, she considered this her supreme hour 
for service; as far as she was concerned she would not leave. The whole 
Colony confirmed this decision; not one left. 

The Friends from the Quaker Mission in Ramallah left and the other 
Christian American citizens. How can I describe the feeling of isola 
tion, of being absolutely cut off, that we felt when we bade farewell to 
our dear friends the Glazebrooks and the Friends fission? The only 
consolation was in work, and we had our hands full. 

On April 6 the United States declared war on the German Reich. 
The inevitable breaking off of diplomatic relations with Turkey came 
as a matter of course, although the United States never actually de 
clared war on Turkey, a fact we hoped would make conditions easier 
for us in the American Colony. 

Two British attacks on Gaza that spring failed. After the first the 
British Army under Sir Archibald Murray retreated and the prisoners 
taken by the Turks were brought to Jerusalem and paraded through 
the streets. Many wounded, both British and Turkish, came as well. 
They lay on stretchers in the road outside the French Hospital, com- 
mandered and run by Turks. There seemed insufficient medical serv 
ice, for when I passed by in the afternoon I noticed what seemed to 
be the same stretchers with the same men still in the road unattended. 
It was this circumstance which made us offer our services to nurse 
the wounded. 


My husband and I went to Turkish headquarters, then housed in 
the Augusta Victoria Stiftung on the Mount of Olives. Djemal Pasha, 
Minister of Marine in the Turkish Cabinet and one of the Young 
Turks who had brought about the coup d etat in 1912 which revived 
and enforced the Constitution of 1876, and eventually deposed Sultan 
Abdul-Hamid, was Generalissimo of the Turkish-German attack on 
the Suez Canal. 

Djemal Pasha kept us waiting in the anteroom and when he arrived 
his manner was not gracious. I suppose few people requested an in 
terview with His Excellency except when they wanted to ask a favor. 
He was a strange man, and one to be feared. He expected such a 
request now, but I said, "Your Excellency, we have come to offer our 
services to nurse the wounded." 

I must say that Djemal Pasha was taken aback. 

He immediately regained command of himself and said with a look 
by which he meant to wither me, "Today your country has been 
foolish enough to cut diplomatic relations with Turkey," and then, 
raising himself to his full height, for he was a short, thickset man, he 
said, "And now, after hearing what I have said, are you still willing 
to nurse our wounded?" We were stunned. Hermetically sealed as we 
were,, we had not known we were at war. 

I knew that one mistake on my part would bring trouble on the 
whole American Colony. 

It was a tense moment in which I asked for guidance. My answer 
was that we had offered to nurse neither friends nor foes, but 
humanity and that our offer held good. 

I must say this man of iron will and dual personality was touched. 
He accepted our offer and put the Grand New Hotel, which he had 
commandeered for a hospital, at our disposal. The hotel was soon 
ready to receive the wounded. It was neither Grand nor New, but 
filthy and full of vermin, and elbow grease had to fill in where soap 
and disinfectant were lacking. The building was filled with memories 
for me. Here Thomas Cook and Son had brought their tourists, among s 
them so many who had become friends of the Colony, and here had 
lived for so many years Dr. and Mrs. Selah Merrill. Here Mrs. 
Whiting and her children, Ruth and John, had been imprisoned. 

I was in charge of getting the wounded men sorted and placed in 
their beds. One man lagged behind the rest and I spoke to him in 
Arabic. By his looks I realized that he had not understood what I 
said; he asked in English, "What did you say?" His British uniform 
and military boots had been stolen; he was barefoot and had on some 
old Turkish rags, but I realized that this man was English, that he was 
a Turkish prisoner, and I knew he had been sent to the American 


Colony Hospital by mistake. Quite naturally they would keep British 
prisoners away from the American Colony Hospital. 

That evening we had a council of war in the Colony and decided 
to volunteer to take over the clearing station where the wounded were 
brought to be deloused, shaved, bathed or rather scrubbed and 
dispersed to the different hospitals. We thought that by doing this we 
could get hold of the British prisoners and help them. 

Our offer was accepted with gratitude by Turkish Medical Head 
quarters. A gruesome part of this new responsibility was that all the 
corpses from the different hospitals came back to the clearing-station 
morgue for burial. It was part of our duty there to make sure that a 
Jew was not buried by the Moslems or a Roman Catholic by the 
Greek Orthodox, and vice versa. 

I happened to be present when the Moslem emam (religious leader) 
in charge of the morgue received the corpse of a young Turkish 
soldier. His hair was fair; I did not see the color of his eyes, for they 
were closed. His splendid physique had succumbed to blood poison 
ing, as so many did when gangrene set in. Instead of handling the 
poor dead man with respect, the emam pulled him off the stretcher as 
though he were a bit of wood, and he fell to the dirty floor on his face. 

I was furious and took the emam to task. I said, "No wonder there 
are so many deserters from the Turkish Army. They make their 
supreme sacrifice for their country and this is the treatment they get." 

Of course the emam did not like being rebuked by a woman, and 
by a Christian dog at that, so he answered me rudely. I went to Med 
ical Headquarters in the commandeered Notre Dame de France, 
which was only a few steps from the Casualty Clearing Station. Colo 
nel Abdulkadir Bey, a Damascene educated at the American Univer 
sity of Beirut and Paris, and head medical officer, heard my story. He 
agreed that the treatment of corpses and burials must be investigated 
and improved. 

I then went home for lunch, where my husband joined me. Fred 
erick was chuckling. 

"I didn t know you were so bloodthirsty as to request that the poor 
emam at the Casualty Clearing Station should be beaten with sixty 
strokes." There would not be much left of him after such a beating 
with a cato -nine-tails. 

Frederick knew that I had not made any such request and he had 
hurried home to let me know. 

We returned at once to Colonel Abdulkadir Bey to beg for leniency. 
It was with difficulty that we got the emam off. At last only the second 
part of his punishment was enforced, and that was that he should 
sleep id the morgue for a week. He was terribly upset by this, for he 
superstitious, and I suppose he thought the many corpses he had 


maltreated would haunt him there. Perhaps if given his choice he 
might have chosen the beating. 

I saw him after the week was over and he had grown thin and pale. 

In July 1917 General Allenby became commander in chief of the 
Middle East, replacing Sir Archibald Murray. Just before General 
Allenby assumed this position his only son had been killed in France. 
We heard rumors about the new general. The nearest the Turkish 
soldiers got to pronouncing his name was Al nebby, which means 
"said by the Prophet," and that to them had a significant meaning. 

During this time I busied myself with any kind of housekeeping 
job connected with the four hospitals now in our charge. As long as 
I could manage it I kept away from the harrowing sights of the oper 
ating and dressing rooms, because of my young baby. 

When I got to the Casualty Clearing Station one morning, doing 
my round of duties, the young man from the Colony in charge an 
nounced that among the wounded who had been brought in that 
morning were three Gurkhas. They belonged to the Indian Gurkha 
infantry regiment and had been taken prisoners. They were fierce 
fighters and besides their usual arms they were allowed their native 
kukri, a heavy, curved knife which they use for all purposes, from 
opening tins to unmentionable things. These men should have been 
disarmed when they were captured, but they had a hand grenade. 

As I peeked through the window at the three, I thought that I had 
never seen creatures who looked more like demons. They were short 
and thickset with d^rk skin, fierce, piercing black eyes, and large 

Our men had wisely removed all other casualties from the room 
and had the door guarded. We thought the Gurkhas were waiting for 
a good opportunity to let off the hand grenade. 

To send in an orderly or any man to disarm them would be the 
challenge they were waiting for. 

I knew there was only one thing to do. As a helpless woman, I 
might appeal to them. 

Quickly, before I gave myself time to argue out of it, I went into 
the room. I went in smiling, patted the first Gurkha on the shoulder, 
and held out my hand. He understood. Without resistance he took the 
hand grenade out of his pocket. 

With signs I asked if they had any more, smiling all the time as 
though I were enjoying the conversation. They shook their heads. I 
walked out with the hand grenade. Not knowing the mechanism, I 
was wondering if it would go off before I got to the door. By the time 
I got rid of it, I was shaking all over. 

After the three Gurkhas were scrubbed I took them to our hospital, 
to be sure they got special care. Here again Brother Elijah was useful. 


It was he who was often pressed into service to amuse the obstreper 
ous young Rudolf Hess. Brother Elijah could speak Hindustani and 
although it was not the Gurkha language, there was enough similarity 
for them to make their wants understood. The men were grateful to 
hear something that reminded them of India. Their grim faces would 
break into broad grins when I made my rounds of the hospital several 
times a day. 

We became great friends, and we were very sorry when the time 
came to give them up. 

As fighting got nearer, food got scarcer, and there was no business. 
Shops were closed, and the few food shops that were open had very 
little to sell. Deserters from the Army increased daily. I remember one 
case where a Greek Orthodox Christian Arab hid for more than a 
year. There was a window in an upstairs room leading onto a roof, 
which had an enormous old-fashioned dome covering the room be 
low. In front of the window a wardrobe was placed. If anyone came 
to inquire for him, as they often did, his wife had two tunes she would 
sing. One, meaning a friend, the other, an enemy. If it was the latter, 
he would immediately get through the window on the roof and pull 
the wardrobe in place. They searched for him, even opening the ward 
robe to look inside, but they never discovered his hiding place. 

After our soup kitchen was closed by the Germans it was quite 
terrible not to be dble to help the poor people. Thousands must have 
died from slow starvation and disease, notably from spotted and 
enteric fevers. Then cholera was added. There was nothing we could 
do about it. Many a person came to our door and dropped from 
exhaustion. We cared for as many as we could. We would carry them 
under the olive trees, making them as comfortable as possible, while 
we sought for a conveyance to carry them to the hospital. Some died 
before we were able to procure this. Then a more serious difficulty 
arose: this was to get the Turkish Government authorities to bury 
the dead. The characteristic Turk always procrastinates. Some of our 
members walked miles from one official to another before these 
wretched bodies were put under the sod. 

Many women brought their babies to us and offered to sell them 
for a pittance, just to be sure of a few more meals. One mother left 
her skeleton twin babies at midnight hanging on our front gate. The 
worst of all was that many, yes, very many, pitifully young girls sold 
themselves to German and Turkish troops. 

It was about this time that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Kamil 
Effendi al Husseini, who was half-brother of the present Mufti Hadj 
Amin al Husseini, came to Mother with the request that we would 
manage the Khaski Sultan soup kitchen called the "D kieh." It was 


an old and richly endowed institution, but the Turkish Government 
appropriated most of the revenue. The Mufti, a tall man of mild and 
gentle demeanor, had often stopped at our open-air soup-distributing 
center and watched us give out soup, before it was closed by a Ger 
man mandate, on his way to his residence on the Mount of Olives 
road, northeast of the Colony. Busy as we were with running four 
hospitals, we could not refuse. I went to investigate and found hun 
dreds of clamoring and ragged skeletons clawing one another to reach 
the distributing center, and only being kept from tearing one another s 
clothes by police using whips. 

I announced that the first thing must be to get rid of the police and 
their whips. The Mufti warned me that I would be mobbed. The 
D kieh was situated in an old house partly in ruins in the Tyrolean 
Valley which divides the four hills of Jerusalem. I got up on a wall and 
clapped my hands and shouted at the top of my voice to attract atten 
tion. A few realized something unusual was happening and looked up. 
Finally I got the attention of this motley crowd, many of whom I recog 
nized as having been among our old clientele. I announced that the 
American Colony was going to take charge of this soup kitchen. I 
reminded them of the orderly manner in which they had acted with 
us; I confided that we would get rid of the policemen and their whips 
if they would co-operate, and I promised them that there would be 
soup for all. Even those at the very end of the line would get their 
share. Two members of the Colony undertook to oversee the work. 
From that day until the British occupation took place the number in 
creased from four hundred to four thousand and then to six thousand 
receiving soup daily. We feared that when Jerusalem fell this work 
would have to stop because of lack of funds. Although belonging to 
an Arab Pius Foundation, it was in Turkish hands, but the British 
came to our rescue with funds so that the soup kitchen continued to 

One morning Djemal Pasha s naval aide-de-camp called at our 
house to ask if I would be willing to oversee the renovation of the 
Anglican Bishop s Palace for the residence of the new civil governor, 
Izzat Pasha. Izzat Pasha s wife was a near relative of His Excellency, 
and as the bishop s house had been roughly used since it was com 
mandeered it needed considerable repairs. I was delighted to do this. 

Somehow we felt it could not be very long before the British Army 
would take Palestine, and secretly I thought of this as getting ready 
for their coming. I sent for Mr. Dahud Dadis, a Palestinian Greek 
Orthodox Christian, who had been the bishop s secretary, and was 
nominally in charge of Saint George s Close and the bishop s resi 
dence. I told him that Djemal Pasha had asked me to get the house 


ready for the English bishop. Mr. Dadis opened his eyes wide and 
said, "The English bishop?" I smiled and said, "Of course he did not 
say for the bishop, but for the new civil governor, but you and I can 
think that we are getting it ready for the bishop and keep our thoughts 
to ourselves." When I asked where I would find furniture and other 
things for the house, the aide-de-camp said that the Spanish Consul 
would break the seals on the English school where British furniture 
was stored. My heart sank, for that was where Mrs. Glazebrook and I 
had packed all the English valuables away. 

The aide-de-camp and the Spanish Consul s dragomans arrived to 
break the seals. I asked my foster brother if he would entertain the 
aide-de-camp by telling him about archaeological sites in the vicinity, 
and I took the Spanish dragoman, a Roman Catholic Palestinian 
Arab, into my confidence. 

Hurriedly I pushed the cases containing the silver and carpets into 
the background and took out mattresses, bedding, and other odds and 
ends sufficient to furnish the house. By this time Jacob and the aide- 
de-camp were with us, and I pointed to all the things we had removed 
from the storeroom. Then the doors were locked and sealed again. 

When the repairs and furnishing of the house were complete, 
Djemal Pasha came to inspect them, and the first question he asked 
was, "Were there no carpets among the British belongings?" I an 
swered, "Your Excellency, I didn t see any," and he was satisfied. Of 
course I had not seen any. They were all packed away carefully with 
moth balls. But not one thing was saved of all those left behind. The 
seals must have been broken later and everything was stolen. But I 
fear they would not have been saved even if I had taken them to the 
bishop s house, for when the Turks retreated they carried everything 
they could with them. 

The Ordnance Workshops occupied the commandeered English 
schools near the American Colony. In the late afternoon the reckon 
ing took place for all the imaginary or real insubordination of the 
Christian and Jewish laborers. They were lined up to watch their un 
fortunate companions being punished. The bastinado was generally 
used, which is a cruel chastisement. The victim was thrown on the 
ground and his feet made firm by twisting a rope around a stick with 
the feet in between. The stick was held by two men and the beating 
was on the soles of the feet. We could hear the screams of these 
wretched men from our house. I had instructed the nurse to be sure 
to keep the children on the farther side of the house in the late after 
noon, but I returned once and missed my four-year-old son John. 
By the screaming that was going on I knew that chastisement was 
being inflicted, so I went over to Saint Mary s School Compound. 

Sure enough, there stood John looking up into the face of the 


commanding officer and shaking his little finger up and down, repeat 
ing over and over again in English, "You won t go to heaven!" 

The officer, not understanding what the child was saying, was much 
amused. I grabbed John by the hand and fled. 

Not long after this the director of Pius Foundations, of which the 
endowment of the D kieh was one, asked Mother to take charge of 
his daughter, Nimette, who was about eleven years old. Her mother 
had died of tuberculosis in Switzerland and the child was very lonely. 
Mother asked me to take Nimette into our nursery, and when I saw 
the wistful little face I could not refuse. 

Nimette became one of our family and was never any trouble except 
for the fact that she had an enlarged spleen from malaria and she 
infected all our children with the disease. We had been free of malaria 
until then, but mosquitoes spread the disease among our children 
after biting Nimette, and my son Horatio still has a bout every now 
and then. 

Her father was a great friend of Djemal Pasha, and one afternoon 
he asked if he could bring the field marshal to tea. Mother, with her 
innate Scandinavian hospitality, wondered what we would give His 
Excellency to eat with his tea, but I suggested that he could have the 
carob syrup gingerbread, which was the only sweet we had. Carob is 
made from the locust bean. 

Djemal Pasha was a man of dual personality. We had heard that he 
was capable of lunching with a man one day and hanging him the next; 
yet he could say to Mother this afternoon as he held my two-year-old 
Louise on his knee that children were a bit of heaven and that God s 
richest blessing to mankind was friendship. 

I told His Excellency about John s escapade at the Ordnance 
Workshops and how he rebuked the officer for beating the men. 
Djemal Pasha was considerate about it and had the workshops moved 
away. He said, "I shall not allow those children to witness such 
sights." So we were no longer harassed by the daily beatings. 

A few days later our daughter Louise came home with the nurse 
very much elated over her "pretty-pretty," and, to my utter conster 
nation, I recognized a diamond star decoration belonging to Djemal 
Pasha pinned on her dress. He had pinned it there. What could that 
mean? I was suspicious because of the rumors about his duplicity and 
cruelty. Was he trying to get us into trouble? If Louise should lose this 
valuable decoration, what would happen? I wrapped it up and sent it 
back at once* 

The choir of the American Colony were practicing Handel s "Hailed 
lujah Chorus" with a view to singing it when Jerusalem was delivered. 
One day I heard my four-year-old son sitting high up in an old olive 


tree in our garden lustily singing the tune of the "Hallelujah Chorus," 
but the words were his own: 

"Dje-mal Pasha Dje-mal Pasha 
Djemal Pasha Djemal Pasha 
Dje-ma-al Pa-sh . . ." 

He stopped singing and got down double quick for two reasons. 
First, I disliked the combination of the music with John s improvised 
words; second, I feared someone might hear him and report us for 
taking the great man s name in vain. 

Early in August we received several more wounded British soldiers 
and we realized with a thrill how very beneficial our work was going 
to be in regard to British prisoners of war. One of these was an officer, 
Second Lieutenant Dick. Another was Thomas Morie, a very young 
man with a wound in his head, the bullet having lodged in his brain. 
An effort was made by the surgeon to extract the bullet, but without 
avail. His condition grew worse daily and we knew there was no hope 
of his recovery. I watched by his bedside, soothing his delirium by 
singing hymns, among them "It Is Well with My Soul." 

When he died, I went again with my husband to Djemal Pasha and 
asked for permission to follow his body to the grave. We hoped to 
make a precedent by this for all British prisoners who might die in 
our hospital. We got a coffin through the Spanish Consul, who since 
Dr. Glazebrook s departure was in charge of British and American 
interests. This was the first death of a British prisoner, and we were 
determined to see to it that all British prisoners got proper burial. We 
wanted a Protestant clergyman to officiate, but those whom we asked 
were afraid. Djemal Pasha might give his consent, but that did not in 
sure their not being taken up for it later and perhaps banished. 

At last an Arab Lutheran clergyman, seeing my dilemma, consented 
to officiate, which he did in English. It was a very brave act on his 
part. Our children, who came daily to the hospitals with flowers from 
our garden for the wounded, made beautiful wreaths and four of us 
went to the funeral in the English Cemetery. We sang, "Nearer, My 
God to Thee" and "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" at the grave; we con 
veyed the coffin to the cemetery in our carriage. 

The other British prisoners were very much touched. We had four 
deaths among the British prisoners, and each time we were allowed 
to follow the body to the grave. When I say every time, I must except 
one case for which the Turks gave their consent, but the soldier being 
Roman Catholic, the priest, who was called to administer the last 
rites and officiate at the funeral, would not allow us to follow the 


corpse or to sing at the grave. We were particularly sorry, for we had 
become very much attached to Francis Flood. 

The rest of the men were slightly wounded, and in a few weeks they 
were perfectly well. We endeavored to keep them as long as possible, 
and whenever an inspection of the hospital was made we kept them 
out of the way. Several of them thus were retained for several months. 

During this time we tried to mark every Sunday by sending down 
a pork roast or a steamed pudding which we made with the carob 
syrup, and the choir from the Colony would go to the hospital and 

We knew the time must be nearing for the British to be taken away. 
We hated to let them go, for we could imagine what treatment they 
would get. We wanted them to see something of the Holy City before 
they left, so again I went with my husband to headquarters to get 
permission for us to take them to see some of the holy places. I never 
went to headquarters without my husband. Frederick was busy in the 
Izzat Pasha s Civilian Food Control Office, but he always managed to 
find time to accompany me. 

At headquarters they wanted to know where I was going to take 
the men, and I replied without hesitation, "to the Mount of Olives," 
for we had worked out a plan which we knew would please them. 

The American Colony is on the road to the Mount of Olives. 
When we got them to the Colony, we had the best afternoon tea pre 
pared for them that our limited resources could furnish. We managed 
to get hold of some real tea. We made scones and some homemade 
butter (we had been saving cream off the milk for days for this) and 
cake made without sugar but sweetened with carob syrup. 

An amusing fact was that in the black market one could not only 
buy sugar at an exorbitant price but one could buy it in its original 
English wrappings. This did not mean a successful raid on any British 
position, but the fact that Bedouins bartered English sugar mostly for 
Hebron grapes to Allenby s troops. 

After tea we put recorded familiar songs on the Victrola belonging 
to the Friends Mission, which we had taken to save it. This was one 
time when Harry Lauder s comic songs in broad Scotch made the 
tears come to the boys eyes. It was so good to hear something from 
home, and yet they knew what lay between them and that home. They 
knew this was the last bit of civilization, of home and kindness that 
they would meet with for a long time, if ever. We were feeling sad, 
but we tried in every way we could to cheer them before starting on 
their precarious and uncertain march. 

Three weeks after this a great change took place for all of us. 
Djemal Pasha had been absent from Palestine for some time; there 
were rumors that he was in Syria and the Lebanon. The immense 


crop of rumors circulated by the "grapevine" method increased our 
feeling of insecurity. 

Day by day people were arrested on the slightest pretext and ac 
cused of being spies. The Mufti of Gaza and his son. were hanged at 
the Jaffa Gate. They belonged to the Husseini family and were con 
demned as traitors, because someone said they were pro-British. 

There were other executions at the Damascus Gate. I remember 
one morning going to the hospital in the carriage with my husband. 
We were stopped by a Moslem friend who told us to go round another 
way as two men, hanged at dawn, were still hanging outside the 
Damascus Gate. They were left there as an object lesson to other pro- 
British sympathizers. 

We often remarked to one another our fellow feeling with Daniel 
about Nebuchadnezzar, "whom he would he slew, whom he kept alive, 
he kept alive." The executions and hangings in the Lebanon were on 
a larger scale than in Palestine, and the condition of people in the 
Lebanon was even more pitiable than those in Jerusalem. Djemal 
Pasha had announced that pardons were to be granted to many con 
demned persons, especially those from Nablus, where the notables 
were known to be in favor of Britain. A conference was called to meet 
at Abbey in the Lebanon. We had a Moslem friend, Ahmed Effendi, 
in Nablus whose sons were in the Colony school. He was among those 
summoned to Abbey. He was delayed in starting, which saved his life. 

They were all under the impression that they were going to be par 
doned. Arriving by carriage from Damascus to Abbey, Ahmed Efiendi 
went into a hotel and casually took up a newspaper. There he read that 
the whole group who had answered Djemal Pasha s summons, his 
uncle among them, had been hanged the day before. 

Ahmed hastily dropped the newspaper and went in search of his 
carriage. He bribed the driver to harness the poor, weary horses at 
once and start back to Damascus. He told him that he had left all his 
money in Damascus, and haste was necessary to find it. In Damascus 
he went to a friend s house and for fear of being betrayed, and to 
make sure to bind his host to secrecy, he paid a high price for and 
married the daughter of the house thus he gave a motive to his 
father-in-law to protect him. He had a wife and a large family in 
Nablus, but, as Mohammedans are allowed four wives, that was no 

Conditions were not progressing well for the Turks on the Sinai 
front, since the new British general AUenby was in command. We 
heard rumors that there were jealousies and disagreements between 
the Turks and their German allies. Incidents arising between them 
were frequent, owing to the Germans contemptuous and overbearing 
treatment of the Turks. The heavy howitzer artillery were under the 


command of the Austrian contingent. They had their headquarters in 
Ratizbon s School (French Roman Catholic) on the western ex 
tremity of the new city (as it was then). The Austrians got on much 
better with the Turks. 

While Djemal Pasha was absent in Syria, Nimette spent a few days 
with her father at Turkish headquarters at the Augusta Victoria 
Stiftung. She got lonesome for her playmates, to whom she had be 
come attached, and asked if our daughter Anna Grace, who was her 
own age, could spend the week end with her. While she was there 
British planes bombed the Kaiser s palace. I was awakened early by 
the sound of explosions, and looking from our east window, I saw the 
Stiftung enveloped in smoke. I thought it was on fire and was frantic 
with fear because Anna Grace and Nimette were there. Several of the 
young men from the Colony hitched up our carriage and galloped as 
fast as horses could go to headquarters. It was a foolhardy thing to do, 
because the raiders might have thought an important personage was 
in the carriage and bombed it. However, in those days aerial marks 
manship was less perfect than it became later, and the planes were 
flying very high for fear of attack. 

Of all the bombs which were dropped on headquarters only the 
church containing the Kaiser s and the Kaiserin s portraits was hit. We 
were grateful indeed for the children s safe return. They rather en 
joyed the excitement. 

Then one day, without the usual warning, the great Envar Pasha 
came to Jerusalem. Envar with Taliat and Djemal formed the Young 
Turk triumvirate who held the reigns of power in Turkey. Djemal had 
always been pro-French. 

Envar Pasha was inspecting the Sinai and Baghdad fronts. The 
Turkish policy favored the retaking of Baghdad, a former capital of 
the khalifs which was all-important to the pan-Islamic part of the 
Young Turk party. It had the backing of Berlin as well. But the argu 
ment was that if Palestine fell to the British, Iraq would, too, so Pales 
tine became the most important issue. 

It was then that we began to hear General von Falkenhayn s name 
mentioned in connection with Palestine. Envar Pasha came with the 
pomp and ceremony of a conquering hero. He visited all the proper 
ties, schools, and hospitals which had been commandeered by the 
Turks after the evacuation of allied nationals. Their pride in them 
was as though they had created them. The boys college belonging to 
the White Fathers was turned into a Moslem missionary college. They 
seemed to feel secure, and planned for years ahead. 

Envar Pasha, accompanied by Djemal Pasha, passed the American 
Colony several times, and we had a good opportunity to see the man 
of whom we had read and heard so much. Once we saw Djemal Pasha 


point to the Colony and tell Envar Pasha something, and we wished 
we could know what it was. 

Transportation was one of the great difficulties which the Turks 
had to contend with. The railroad from Haider Pasha, the Constanti 
nople station on the Asiatic side to Beersheba, was about thirteen 
hundred miles, and the Amanus and Taurus tunnels were still incom 
plete. The power for the Palestinian narrow-gauge railroad was sup 
plied by wood. 

Many of the ancient oak forests disappeared, ruthlessly chopped 
down for this purpose. The rolling stock was neither good nor numer 
ous and the inefficiency of the Turkish officers and their propensity to 
bribery made the supply of equipment difficult. 

In reality the Turkish Army lived and fought under indescribable 
conditions. Their German allies were aware of the growing discontent 
in the Turkish Army because of this and we heard of the continual 
and ever-growing friction between them. 

Marshal von Falkenhayn was asked to take over the command of 
the Sinai front and he came out in German uniform to inspect and to 
have a look around. 

Living conditions became steadily worse in Jerusalem, and our 
hopes grew proportionately higher. Rumor led us to believe AUenby s 
troops might be nearing the Holy City. 


ON THE ninth of December 1917 the sun rose for the last time 
on the Ottoman domination of Jerusalem. It was Sunday, and the 
peace of Sabbath filled the air. 

It had been raining but now the sky was clear and cloudless. Sun 
shine flooded the country that had so recently been drenched with 
rain. Steam was rising from the muddy roads and the trees were fresh 
and dripping. 

In Palestine we have many such sparkling days after the first rains 
have washed away the accumulated dust of seven or eight months of 
unbroken summer, and Nature seems in tune with the joyful expecta 
tion of deliverance. 

About seven that morning our doorbell rang. In those dangerous 
times we did not allow the door to be answered by just one person, 
so we trailed in a procession to the gate. 

There stood Hassain Effendi al Husseini, the mayor of Jerusalem. 

"Where is Mother?" he asked, meaning my mother. "I am on my 
way to deliver the letter of surrender to the English general, and I 
want her to be the first to know. I realize how eagerly you all, and 
especially Mother, have been looking forward to this day." 

Mother was there in a moment, and we raised our voices in singing 
the Doxology. Hassain was a Moslem, but he had been a student 
at the American Colony and later a constant visitor, and he knew 
many of our hymns. He joined us in praise to God. 

Mother warned Hassain not to go out without a white flag. One 
of the Colony hospital sheets was torn in two and attached to a stick, 
and this was the historical flag of truce which is now in the Military 
Museum of London. 

There were several surrenders on that historic day. Before the 
actual arrival of the white flag of truce, crowds were going out from 
the city toward the position where they knew the British outposts 
were stationed. One of the young men from the American Colony 
met a complacent-looking soldier riding a pack animal. He noticed 
that he was unarmed and he cautioned him that as Jerusalem had not 
yet surrendered he had better be careful. The soldier answered that 


he was the mess cook and all he wanted was to buy "heggs for his 

This has been mentioned humorously as one of the surrenders. 

It was the civilian crowd which first informed two privates of the 
220th Battalion London Regiment, who were seeking water and had 
advanced to the outskirts of Jerusalem, that the Turks had retreated 
and they reported this information. Shortly afterward Sergeant Hur- 
combe and Sergeant Sedgewick of the 219th Battalion London Regi 
ment, two of the outposts, met the mayor with the flag of truce. 

It was not long before Lieutenant Colonel H. Bailey, D.S.O., Major 
M. D. H. Cooke, and Major W. Beck, R.A., arrived and talked with 
the mayor. Lieutenant Colonel Bailey, being the senior officer, re 
ported this fact to Brigadier General C. F. Watson, C.M.G., D.S.O., 
commanding the 180th Brigade. Brigadier General Watson mounted 
an old nag, for the bridge at Kulonia had been blown up by the re 
treating Turks, rode as quickly as possible to reassure the mayor. 
Brigadier General Watson then transmitted the mayor s offer to sur 
render Jerusalem to Major General J. S. M. Shea, C.B., C.M.G., 
D.S.O., general in command of the 60th Division, who was then at 
Kuryet el-Enab (shortened to Enab by the ingenious Tommies) . This 
village marks the farthest point that King Richard the Lion-Hearted 
reached in his advance toward Jerusalem in January 1 192, and which 
he never saw. AUenby s army from this point went forward and com 
pleted King Richard s work. 

General Shea had difficulty in crossing the muddy stream in his car, 
swelled by the recent rains. Hassain Effendi, ,with Mr. Demetri 
Salameh, Jerusalem s representative of Thomas Cook and Son, begged 
General Watson to show himself to the inhabitants because the civilian 
population had been looting. During the few hours between the re 
treat of the Turks and the entrance of the British troops there was no 
recognized government. The mayor and Mr. Salameh knew that if the 
people could see one British officer they would know that there were 
others not far behind. 

I remember one case of looting in particular when a man who 
lived near the Italian Hospital, which was used for spotted typhus 
and other contagious diseases, appropriated some coveted mattresses. 
He and his whole family were blotted out by the di&ease he brought 
home with his loot. 

As Frederick and I walked to the hospital that morning, not a Turk 
was to be seen in the streets. Everyone looked happy and hopeful. 
Ten o clock arrived, every nerve was tingling with expectation, and 
then came a subdued shout, for people were still afraid to show their 
joy. "Ajul Aju [They ve come!]!" and Brigadier General Watson was 
sighted escorted by Hassain Effendi, Mr. Salameh, and a crowd of fol- 


lowers. We were all on the balcony of the hospital, and there was not 
a dry eye. For us the joy of that hour was indescribable. I rushed 
down and kissed the general s stirrup and rushed back. I feel quite 
sure that he never knew who the person was who did that impulsive 

My husband and brother-in-law then asked the brigadier to come 
up into the hospital and see our three prisoners of war. % It would be 
hard to find words to describe the joy of these men at seeing their 
brigadier general again. Poor Roberts, in his weak mental state, up 
braided the general for having left him to suffer so long. But the gen 
eral soothed him with kind words. 

It was only after we had given out the last meal to the sixteen 
hundred wounded and sick Turkish soldiers that I met Major General 
Sir John Shea. 

John Whiting and I were summoned to the hospital in the Russian 
Compound by Colonel T. B. Lay ton, in charge of the 2d Fourth Field 
Ambulance. Colonel Layton wanted information about the different 
hospitals in the city to enable him to make his men comfortable who 
had been wounded in the actual taking of the last Turkish stronghold. 
The British troops were still in their summer clothing, without great 
coats and blankets. Until a few hours before they had been suffering 
from the heat of the desert and the plain. The drop in temperature as 
they climbed the mountains was quick and severe, and many of the 
men had taken cold. 

I had got back as far as the old post office in front of an open space, 
which has since come to be known as Allenby Square, when I saw a 
car coming down the Jaffa Road from the west. I knew that a car 
could mean only British military, for there were no civilian cars in 
Jerusalem, and the Turks had left. There were officers in the car with 
red tabs on their uniforms and a good deal of gold on their caps, but 
these meant nothing to me. Besides, I did not care who they were or 
how high their station was. I was thinking about my men, and that I 
had no more food to give them, so I went out into the middle of the 
road and put out my arms. The car had to stop or run over me, so it 

I got on to the running board and told the officer, whom I found 
was Major General Sir John Shea, divisional commander, who I was 
and why I had been so bold. He gave orders to his aide-de-camp to 
take note of what I said. 

As I stood on the running board of the general s car, a crowd of 
people advanced toward us in the road led by Hassain Effendi al Hus- 
seini, and I introduced htrr> to General Sir John Shea. I stood beside 
the car while General Shea received the letter of surrender, written 
by Izzat Pasha a few hours before. 


In a commanding voice the general said, after reading the letter, 
"It is a lie, it is a "lie." My knees shook, and I wondered what had 
roused the general. I soon found out. In the letter which the Pasha 
had written he said that the reason the Turkish Army had retreated 
was to save the holy places from destruction by British guns, and the 
general knew that not one English gun had been fired on Jerusalem. 

The general soon followed me to the hospital, and I took him on 
the roof to get a view of old Jerusalem as well as the surrounding 
country. From there I noticed what seemed to be skirmishing on the 
hills north of Jerusalem very near the American Colony. I could 
hardly answer General Shea s questions coherently about the different 
sites to be seen from the roof. I was so eager to send a messenger to 
Mother to find out if they were safe. 

Mother s answer to my note was that nine of the windows of the 
Colony had been smashed by bullets coming from the retreating Turk 
ish stragglers on Mount Scopus, but that no one was hurt. She said 
that one of the Swedish ladies was in her bedroom when a bullet came 
through the window, through the dress lying on her bed which she 
had expected to put on, through the mattress, and into the floor. My 
eldest daughter and son told me later that they were so fascinated they 
could not leave the north window of our nursery until Mother found 
them there and sent them to a safer place. They described the bayonet 
charge which they had seen, but fortunately it was some distance away. 
The fighting was on the ridge of Mount Scopus, north of the city, 
where Titus s army had encamped before he conquered Jerusalem in 
A.D. 70. 

That afternoon the 74th and 60th Divisions wheeled round from 
Nebbi Samuel to the house on Mount Scopus belonging to Sir John 
Gray Hill. This had been strongly held by the enemy, and the British 
troops encountered stiff resistance but finally dislodged them. Sir John 
Gray Hill was a member of the British Parliament from Birkenhead, 
Liverpool. He had bought property and built a house on the summit 
of Scopus, where he and his family spent several months each year. 
Lady Gray Hill was an artist, and often remained longer than her 
husband painting in their hilltop villa. She was particularly good at 
catching the atmosphere of the desert. Sir John died several years 
previously, and on this fateful ninth day of December 1917 Lady 
Gray Hill signed the deed of sale of her house and property on Mount 
Scopus to a representative of the Hebrew University. 

Very soon after General Shea left the hospital the British senior 
medical officer, Colonel T. B. Layton, came and took over the com 
mand of our four hospitals. Our men were still frightened, and many 
of the Arabs threatened to jump out of the second-story window to 


get away rather than be taken prisoners. I asked Colonel Layton if 
he would appoint some orderlies to help look after the men, and he 
said in an abrupt manner for which he was noted, "I hold you re 
sponsible for the men." As soon as Colonel Layton was gone I turned 
to my husband and said, "What a horrid man! How can I prevent all 
these men from deserting without help?" 

Frederick assured me that Colonel Layton was only joking; that 
he understood that no single person could prevent the men from 
deserting or did he expect it. My husband was right, as he always was. 
We soon understood Colonel Layton s manner, and our children 
loved him, as did one and all of the members of the American Colony. 
He became and has remained one of our trusted friends. He advised 
vaccinating our year-old Frieda, but for fear she would take a dislike 
to him, he would not do it himself, but brought one of his assistants. 

I remember so well the next morning after meeting General Shea. 
Twenty trucks arrived at the hospital laden with quantities of food 
for our wounded Turks. For three years all put together we had not 
seen so much food. There was OXO, Quaker Oats, rice, beans, flour, 
coffee, tea, sugar, biscuits, and butter to say nothing of bully beef and 
lots of other tinned food. I remember wishing that I could take some 
of it home to my children. 

It was like Christmas. Everyone was happy, and good will toward 
men was the universal feeling. 

Jerusalem was a new city. Strangers greeted and congratulated one 
another. Faces we had not seen for months and years emerged from 
hiding. People we had considered dead came fearlessly from conceal 
ment, their faces yellow from confinement. 

It was estimated that 25,000 deserters from the Turkish Army were 
recorded in the Jerusalem district alone. (This number grew larger 
later on. ) That circumstance in itself showed the sentiment of the Arab 

Farther north the Turks were in a long series of trenches. These 
were taken with a rush, and the British line advanced beyond the 
village of Sha afat just over the hill from the Colony. Welsh troops 
from the south pushed across the road east of Jerusalem leading to 
Jericho and thrust back Turkish reinforcements, advancing along this 
road to defend Jerusalem. Bad weather and stifl Turkish resistance 
had delayed the advance from the south. During the cold and drizzling 
rain of the night of the eighth and ninth of December, the 53d Divi 
sion, which had been at Mar Elias, halfway to Bethlehem, came up 
as far as the Jerusalem railroad station. The commander s orderly 
knocked at the door of a nice-looking house and asked if his officer 
could be billeted there. The owner was a German but he spoke English 


fluently. It is from the landlord that I heard the following character 
istic dialogue: 

Orderly: "Have you place for my hofficer?" 

German: "Certainly. Come in." 

O: "What nationality are you?" 

G: "German, but as an individual I like the English and your officer 

is welcome." 

O: "NO! No, not in a German house." 
G: "But we are not soldiers; we do not fight." 
O: "Yes, you do, every German man, woman, child, dog, cat, and 

chicken are soldiers, and you all fight." 

He went his way. 

On December 1 1 the commander in chief, General AUenby, made 
his formal entry into Jerusalem. The great general rode on horse 
back as far as the Jaffa Gate. The gate had been closed for some time. 
Before the visit to Jerusalem of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in 
1898, the Turks, fearing the narrow gate would obstruct traffic, had 
made a breach in the old rampart wall so that carriages could enter 
the city. The Kaiser had entered on a white charger wearing the gor 
geous white Uhlan uniform with the dazzling and burnished helmet 
surmounted by the German eagle, but even that was not spectacular 
enough for him. Whatever uniform His Majesty put on was the signal 
for the rest of his military entourage to copy; but as some of his suite 
were more imposing in stature than he was, he had made himself 
unique by wearing a white-and-gold kaffiyeh gathered under the 
spreading eagle, and over his white uniform was a white silk abayah 
with gold threads running through that sparkled in the sunlight. The 
Emperor was not only an artist in his choice of costume to impress his 
oriental audience, but also an actor. 

How different was this solemn and dignified entrance of General 
Allenby, who, to do honor to his Master, walked into the Holy City as 
a pilgrim. 

First in the procession came Colonel Barton, postmaster general 
of Cairo, who had hurriedly come to Jerusalem to be the first military 

The commander in chief, preceded by his aide-de-camp, had on his 
right the commander of the French detachment and on his left the 
commander of the Italian detachment. Following were the Italian, 
French, and American military attaches and a few members of the 
General Staff. The American military attache was Colonel Edward 
Davis. Guards of honor marched in the rear. 

The procession entered the Jaffa Gate, walked past the Grand New 
Hotel, which was our hospital, turned to the right toward Zion, and 


on the steps of the citadel in the shadow of the Tower of David, part 
of which dates from David s time, and another part which was stand 
ing at the time of Christ, the proclamation was read. 

This proclamation, which was read in English, French, Arabic, 
Hebrew, Greek, Russian, and Italian, announced that order would be 
maintained in all the sacred sites of the three great religions which 
would be carefully guarded for the full use of the worshipers it as 
sured the people that they might pursue their lawful business without 

Throughout the ceremony no Allied flag was flown. After the 
short ceremony the chief notables and ecclesiastics of the different 
communities who were in Jerusalem were presented to General Al 
lenby. In a photograph of this ceremony the Chief Rabbi stands beside 
the Grand Mufti. After the reception the commander in chief left 
Jerusalem by the Jaffa Gate. Outside the gate he mounted his horse 
and rode away. Our American Colony photographer took pictures of 
all. The photographs showing General Allenby leaving Jerusalem on 
a horse, with the city wall as a background, had difficulty in passing 
the censor, but it was finally released because the rampart wall at his 
back proved he was leaving the city, not entering. 

Palestine had a so-called Christian government for the first time 
since the Crusaders were driven out by Saladin. As soon as the in 
habitants were confident of the stability of the British occupation they 
expressed their gratitude for being delivered from the Ottoman yoke. 
Church bells rang in acknowledgment and officers were met with flow 
ers thrown into their cars. 

During the ceremony I was on the balcony of the Grand New Hotel. 
John Whiting touched me on my shoulder and asked whether I would 
mind giving my place to James McBey. Of course I minded, but I 
could not refuse the official artist a good place to make the sketches 
for his famous painting of the historical entry of General Allenby. I 
looked over his shoulder, and I knew I was fortunate indeed to be wit 
nessing one of the great events in history* I realized that the whole 
Christian world outside of Germany and Austria was jubilant. People 
in the streets were crying at their deliverance. I saw a Jew embrace a 
Greek priest, and his tall, clerical hat went askew in the exuberance 
of fraternal feeling. Truly we could sing with the Psalmist, "Then were 
our mouths filled with laughter and our tongue with smiling . . . the 
Lord hath done great things for us, therefore we are glad." 

I never recall this day without remembering John Finley s words: 

The earth s free nations now will bring 
Their genius to its glorying, 
And they who sat in darkness sing 
For e er of thee, O Allenby! 


We thought then we were witnessing the triumph of the last crusade. 
A Christian nation had conquered Palestine! 

We were still busy in the hospitals, helping to get our men off to 
Egypt. How different was their fate now! Instead of traveling in iron- 
tired lorries, which shook them almost beyond endurance, or on 
stretchers strapped either side of a camel, they were moved in ambu 
lances and hospital trains with pillows and blankets to make them 

During those first busy days when I would be gone all day four- 
year-old John would stand at our garden gate craning his neck to 
get a glimpse of a British soldier. At last some Tommies were billeted 
at Saint George s School across the street from our house. 

One of them came over and said, "What is your name, little boy? * 
Our son straightened his shoulders and answered that his name was 
John. "Oh, you are a Johnny Turk, are you?" said the Tommy. John 
was heartbroken. When I returned, John told me about his encounter 
with the British soldier and announced that he did not want to be 
called John any more. Canon Hichens, the "cannon" the Turks had 
hoped to find when they excavated in the English Cathedral, had re 
turned to Jerusalem as padre to the troops and was our guest. He came 
to John s defense and said, "You shall be called Jock after this. Jock 
is a good Scottish name and suits you!" So Jock he has been called 
ever since. At present he is a captain in the American Army, stationed 
at Fort Knox, Kentucky. 

At once the commander in chief was faced with the peculiar status 
of Jerusalem, where numerous ecclesiastical associations demanded 
special rights. The inhabitants were impoverished and half starved 
from the continued drain from requisitioning by the armies and the 
blockade of the country. Brigadier General G. F. Clayton, C.B., 
C.M.C., who was chief political officer, was put in charge of southern 
Palestine and he built up a certain measure of government for what 
was called "Occupied Enemy Territory." 

About April 1918 the first chief administrator of O.E.T.A. (Occu 
pied Enemy Territory Administration), Major General Sir Arthur 
Wigram Money, K.C.B., C.S.I., arrived, and very soon he constituted 
a system for administering justice, organizing finances, and policing 
the country. I think it was only a few days after the occupation that 
Colonel Barton was taken ill, and Colonel Ronald Storrs, C.M.G., 
came as military governor of Jerusalem. Colonel Storrs spoke Arabic 
fluently and was able to converse with the populace without an inter 
preter, which greatly facilitated negotiations. 

Only three weeks after the surrender of Jerusalem Hassain Effendi 
al Husseini was taken ill with double pneumonia. No one had known 


that he had weak lungs, but in a few days he died. His death was unex 
pected and unfortunate for the new British administration because he 
possessed a liberal outlook, an educated mind, and had hoped to help 
the new rulers whom he welcomed. He was survived by his wife and 
four little sons. 

The British Government honored Hassain Effendi with a military 
funeral. Colonel T. E. Lawrence attended in Arab costume. 

Before Hassain Efiendi died he had sent for me, but as I was still 
working in the hospital I was too late to see him alive. His wife told 
me that Hassain realized his serious condition and wanted me to in 
tercede with the authorities on behalf of his wife and four small sons, 
who, although belonging to the powerful Hasseini family, were land 
poor, without any fluid income. The American Colony was able to 
help them at the time. Many years later, when Hassain s property was 
put up at auction to pay his debts to Barclay s Bank (D.C. and O), 
there was a duel of bidding between the Grand Mufti, Hadj Am in al 
Husseini, and the Zionist organization. The Mufti, also president of 
the Moslem Supreme Council with jurisdiction over the enormous 
Moslem Pius Bequests, would not let Dak Amer go to the Zionists and 
kept on bidding higher. It became a veritable duel, and finally the 
Moslem Pius Bequests paid an exorbitant price for it. This put Sitt 
Fatme Hassain Husseini into comfortable circumstances and enabled 
her to educate her four sons at Saint George s School in Jerusalem and 
the American University of Beirut. Dair Amer was put to good use. 
A modern agricultural schoolhouse was built on the hilltop and run 
by a progressive committee of Moslem and Christian Arabs. 

Christmas 1917 was a happy one for the American Colony. Mother 
invited a distinguished company to partake of our Christmas dinner, 
which was put off until the twenty-sixth, Boxing Day. In a letter she 
wrote: "We had four generals and twenty other British officers to 

With much planning and ingenuity we produced stuffed roast turkey 
with all the usual accompaniments except cranberry sauce. The pro 
verbial plum pudding, blazing with burning brandy, was made possible, 
and there were Jaffa oranges. There was an abundance of friendly 
welcome and cheer and heartfelt gratitude for our deliverance. During 
dinner the band of the American Colony played, and after dinner the 
choir sang the "Hallelujah Chorus" we had been practicing, but, I 
need not add, not Jock s version. 

As the evening advanced it became harder to entertain our guests. 
In spite of our efforts small groups of officers would form who spoke 
in undertones. At one minute after midnight we realized the cause of 
it. The guns north of us began firing, which repulsed a counterattack 
by the Turks. They had got back as far as Tel el FBI, which is just 


over the hill north of the American Colony. It was too near to be com 
fortable, but at dawn on December 27 the Turks were dislodged. Some 
of Falkenhayn s troops were among the fallen; they were conspicuous 
in their new uniforms and equipment. Two naval guns from the 
Breslau and the Guben, two German men-of-war which took refuge 
in Constantinople early in the war, were hauled down to Palestine. 
One was called "Nablus Lizzy" and the other "Jericho Jane" by the 
British Tommies. But they were both too late in arriving for the Turk 
ish defense of Jerusalem. 

My brother-in-law was pressed into service almost immediately. 
John joined the Field Intelligence under General Wyndham Deedes 
with the rank of captain. He had traveled all over Palestine on foot, 
on donkey and horseback, and by carriage. No non-Palestinian knew 
the country so intimately as John. His knowledge of every bypath, 
well, and spring of water was invaluable to General AUenby s troops 
in their advance north and east. 

On December 29 Ramallah, twelve miles north of Jerusalem, was 
occupied by British troops. A modern version of Simon the tanner from 
Jaffa is a true story. When Jaffa was evacuated Simon, who was actu 
ally a tanner and his buxom wife with his wife s niece, a sort of foster 
daughter, in delicate health, came to Jerusalem. We had helped Simon 
for years, trying to improve his method of tanning so as to produce fine 
leather which could be tooled and worked up into attractive souvenirs. 
They arrived in Jerusalem penniless, with no hope of work. John 
Whiting, always resourceful, got the Turkish Military Shoemaking 
Department interested enough in Simon to set him up in tanning hides 
for military shoes at the nearest stream of water, which was Ein Senia. 
Later Ein Senia became no-man s land for a time, lying between 
British-occupied Ramallah and the Turkish lines farther north, and it 
was being shelled by both Turkish and British batteries. 

Simon and his wife and invalid niece started walking from Ein 
Senia over the hills to Ramallali, where the British forces were sta 
tioned. The country they traversed was very broken and precipitous. 
It was not safe to travel in the daytime on roads or tracks; rain and 
darkness greatly increased the difficulty of their advance, and they 
had to dodge shells. 

At last the exhausted niece could go no farther, and they left her 
lying unconscious in a gully. By the time they reached Ramallah there 
was very little life left in Simon and his fat wife. They had difficulty in 
persuading the outposts that they were friendly. Through an inter 
preter they informed the officer in command at Ramallah that they were 
friends of the American Colony. John Whiting went to Ramallah and 
brought back Simon and his wife to the Colony, where for months we 
nursed them back to health. Their poor bruised feet were in bad con- 


dition. A search party went to find the niece, but nothing was found 
except a few rags of clothing and some bones. Evidently hyenas had 
attacked her. 

The first letters we wrote, even before permission was granted for 
writing, were to Mr. Loud and other kind friends who had been mind 
ful of us in our dark hour. 

A short time before the Turks retreated, to ingratiate themselves in 
the good graces of the Arabs, whom they had treated harshly, they an 
nounced that all political prisoners would be forgiven. Thousands of 
Arabs had been uprooted from their homes and sent hither and yon, 
mostly to Asia Minor. Among these unfortunates were an old Mos 
lem and his wife. They were punished because their son, who was in 
the Turkish Army near the Suez Canal, deserted to the British. After 
the British occupation my husband and I heard that Hadj Ahmed and 
his wife, who were neighbors of the American Colony, had returned 
and were ill. We went to call and found Hadj Ahmed in a really seri 
ous condition. He said he would give his eyes if he could only see 
his son before he died. He was a prisoner of war at Sidi Bishr, near 
Alexandria, Egypt. He asked me to beg General Allenby to release 
his son, as though it was the easiest possible thing to do. I was horrified 
by the faith the poor man put in my ability to influence the great 
commander in chief and in the possibility of his seeing his son again. 
As luck would have it, I did meet General Allenby a few days later 
and I mentioned this fact. The general asked very casually if I would 
guarantee the young man s integrity, and I answered in the affirmative, 
It seemed utterly futile to consider the possibility of the son s return, 
and I thought no more about it. 

In less than two weeks I was invited to celebrate the homecoming of 
the son, and the old father s gratitude was very moving. The father 
lived only a short time after this. It illustrated General Allenby s 
character and his graciousness that in the midst of leading a great 
campaign he had time to attend to an insignificant detail like this. 

Among letters I cherish are these: 

Headquarters, MHOW " MHOW C. I. 

Central Provinces District March 15th, 1922 


I have always felt that I owed both Mrs. Vester and yourself so much, 
not only at the time that my division took Jerusalem but subsequently, 
that I should like to put the fact in writing for record, should you wish, 
amongst your family papers. Not only did Mrs. Vester nurse the wounded 
British prisoners in the hospital at Jerusalem with devoted care prior to 
our arrival, but you yourself, at great personal risk, successfully hid 
three British prisoners when the Turks had decided to evacuate the town. 
By your action you prevented these prisoners being carried away by the 


Turks and you handed them over to the British on December 9th, 1917. 
Further the information which you and your wife gave to me was of 
the greatest value to me during the time we were preparing to drive the 
Turks further North and East. 

With my sincere thanks and best wishes 
(signed) J. H. SHEA 

Lieut. Genl. 

High Commissioner for Egypt Upper Nile Province 

January, 1924 Sudan 


I am glad to place on record my appreciation of the services to human 
ity rendered by Mr. Vester and yourself during the War. In devoting 
yourselves to the care of the wounded and sick, without distinction of 
creed or nationality, and in circumstances of peculiar difficulty, and even 
danger, I consider that you and Mr. Vester performed a task of very real 
value. The British wounded, among others, owe you a debt of gratitude. 

Yours sincerely, 
(signed) ALLENBY 

F. M. 
Mrs. Vester 
The American Colony, 


THE last of our wounded men had been dispatched to Egypt, 
and our responsibility at the Turkish hospitals was over. We antici 
pated a good long rest. However, we were not given the chance. John 
Whiting received a cable from Mr. Vickrey, head of the Syria and 
Palestine Relief, asking if he would organize the relief work in Jeru 
salem. John asked me to take his place on the Syria and Palestine Re 
lief Committee, because he was occupied with Field Intelligence for 
Allenby s army. 

This was the first time Frederick and I had come face to face with 
our position as German subjects under the British military regime at 
war with Germany. I advised John that before recommending me to 
Mr. Vickrey, General Allenby should be consulted. The general s reply 
to this request was to send a member of his Intelligence Department to 
our house to say that Mr. Vester was going to be treated in every 
way as though he were an American citizen. The messenger added that 
there would be notices issued governing the restricted actions of Ger 
man subjects, but he emphasized that Mr. Vester need not comply 
with any of these restrictions. And so, when General Allenby was con 
sulted about my eligibility to supervise the relief arrangements, he 
gave not only his consent but his blessing. 

I have mentioned in an earlier chapter that Mother gave me the 
benefit of her experience in organizing relief work after the Chicago 
Fire. I had good material to draw from in the younger group of Ameri 
can Colony members who had been nursing in the hospitals. 

We divided Jerusalem into sections and appointed Moslem and 
Christian Arab and Jewish ladies to make house-to-house investiga 
tions and to report to the committee. The daughter of the Grand Mufti 
and a number of Moslem ladies, who for the first time in their lives 
were out of "purdah," did excellent work. 

Mother wrote to a friend: 

Bertha and fourteen others from the Colony are devoting all their time 
to the relief work in the clinic and in visiting the various sections of the 
city, going from house to house, to learn about and describe the prevailing 


And in another letter: 

One of the local cinema halls was taken for the entertainment of the 
troops and here Jacob has given many lectures on Bible history illustrated 
by magic-lantern slides. This led to an extended series of talks in the out 
lying camps among the British and Australian troops and enabled them to 
appreciate the sites they would be visiting in a more intelligent and 
comprehensive manner. 

When the personnel administering the Syria and Palestine Relief 
Fund were allowed to come into Palestine, Bishop and Mrs. Rennie 
Maclnnes and many missionaries who had given years of service to 
Syria and Palestine were among the number. It was a marvelous re 
union with former friends after nearly four years of being the only 
non-natives in Palestine. Bishop Maclnnes had been consecrated Angli 
can Bishop in Jerusalem, Egypt, and the East, succeeding the late 
Bishop Blyth, but this was his first visit to Jerusalem after his conse 
cration. I was put on the Executive Committee of the Relief and en 
joyed the work, which was soon going with a swing. 

Austrian Hospice, in the heart of the Old City, was opened as an 
orphanage. Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Cleland, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen 
Trowbridge and many others were among the workers and were kept 
very busy. I was asked to organize a sewing establishment for making 
garments for distribution. We employed eight hundred women. Sister 
Tilly Holmstrum and Mrs. Fred Meyers from the Colony spent the 
day cutting out garments and teaching the more intelligent women to 
help. Every garment was checked before it was sent out. After Jeru 
salem got its share of clothes, these garments were packed ready for 
the Lebanon and Syria when that part of the country was opened up 
by AUenby s army. 

Business began to brighten, and my husband with several other men 
of the Colony gathered up our broken business ties and opened the 
American Colony stores. 

Early in 1918 the Hadassah Medical Units came to Jerusalem and 
started relief work among the Jewish population. The name Hadassah 
was Queen Esther s Hebrew name the name which her Cousin 
Mordecai called her. Since then medical work among the Jews of 
Jerusalem has grown enormously. 

Infant welfare work is raising a super generation. Infants are taken 
care of from the cradle to the grave, nay, even before that, for prenatal 
work is universal and well done. Miss Henrietta Szold s work is too 
well known to be enumerated here. She made herself a place among the 
matriarchs of Israel, compared in obituaries at her death to Miriam 
the sister of Aaron and Moses and to Deborah. The Henrietta Szold 
Nurses Training Center connected with the Hebrew University is a 


fitting memorial to her extensive work. I worked with Miss Szold for 
many years on the Social Service Association and the Woman s Coun 
cil. During those early years it was still possible for Arabs, Jews, and 
Christians to work together on the same committee. As a matter of 
fact the Social Service was started by an Arab, a Jewess, and an 
American. Mrs. Demetri Salameh, a leading Greek Orthodox Arab, 
and wife of the local manager of Thomas Cook and Son; Mrs. 
Hoofien, a leading Jewess, and wife of the director of the Anglo- 
Palestine Bank; and I, started it a few days after the British occupa 
tion took place. 

We asked the Syria and Palestine Relief personnel to join our efforts 
to clean up the city morally. Members of the American Red Cross 
and Hadassah Medical Units joined, and Mrs. Maclnnes, wife of the 
Anglican Bishop, became our first president. 

The foundation stone of the Hebrew University was laid several 
months later. Our invitation came from the Zionist Commission from 
Tel Aviv Jaffa. How changed is the situation of those two cities since 
then. At that time Jaffa was the important place and Tel Aviv was a 
suburb. Now Tel Aviv has swallowed Jaffa. I went with Mother, the 
crowd was so great that we were pushed nearer and yet nearer until 
finally I stood next to the speakers. I remember with what fervor Rabbi 
Kok spoke of their cultural rather than political aspirations. 

In April 1918 Major General Sir Arthur Money, K.C.B., C.B.I., 
was appointed chief administrator of Occupied Enemy Territory, the 
O.E.T.A. He did much to improve postal facilities for civilians and 
introduce stable Egyptian currency which enabled commerce to re 
vive. He also improved the old system of the dispensation of justice. 
Taxes were soon being paid, by which the military administration was 
able to hand over the management of the rich Moslem Pius Bequests 
to be appropriated to the needs of Moslem beneficiaries in Palestine; 
whereas under the Turkish regime the major part of this income had 
been sent to Constantinople. 

Many happy afternoons have my husband and I spent at Govern 
ment House, playing tennis with General Sir Arthur Money. Govern 
ment House occupied the Kaiserin Augusta Victoria Stiftung on the 
Mount of Olives. I was at the reopening of the Rothschild Hospital in 
Jerusalem when Sir Arthur Money made a speech in which he con 
demned the policy of creating separate institutions for different 
communities whether charitable or educational. The only hope for 
Palestine, he said, was for Christian and Moslem Arabs and Jews to 
co-operate in every way. 

It was generally considered that Sir Arthur Money s recall soon 
after was connected with this attitude. 


He was succeeded by General Sir Harry Watson. 

Lady Watson took an active part in the revival of Palestine. She 
became president of the Y.W.C.A. and organized a fete in Antimus s 
Garden, now called Zion Square, to raise money for the Y.W.C.A. 
People were in the mood for having a bit of joy after four years of 
poverty, fear, and oppression, and it was financially successful. Freder 
ick and I gave a moonlight picnic to Emmaus on horseback for the 
two daughters of Sir Harry and Lady Watson. We arranged to have 
supper at the Franciscan Monastery at Emmaus. On the picnic Mr. 
Richard Babcock became engaged to Miss Watson. The two young 
people lagged behind, and I had all I could do to keep John Whiting 
from accompanying them. He feared it was not safe for them to 
follow so far behind the group, but his solicitous attention was defi 
nitely not wanted. Frederick, John, and I kept within sight, but out of 
earshot, to protect them. 

Not long after Allenby conquered the Holy City a young American 
came to call. Mother welcomed Lowell Thomas as though he were 
an old friend. He was, I believe, the first American we met after the 
long years of war when we had been cut off from home and friends. 
We had experienced so much during that time that it seemed a life 
time since we had seen people of our own race and nation. Mr. 
Thomas was young and handsome and full of American zest for ad 
venture. He was in American military uniform and looked very fine 
in the uncomfortable stiff collar which the United States later changed 
for a more comfortable neckline. We took him into the family circle 
of the American Colony, so to speak, and there he has held an honored 
place ever since. His book, With Lawrence in Arabia, which made 
Colonel T. E. Lawrence a household hero in both England and 
America, was the result of this trip. It was in Jerusalem that Lowell 
Thomas met Colonel Lawrence, who was introduced to him by 
Colonel Ronald Storrs as the "Uncrowned King of Arabia." 

The American Colony kept open house those days, and there were 
callers at all hours during the day and evening. 

One morning Colonel Lawrence called on Mother. Mother was busy 
at the moment, and asked me to go up and speak to him. We had 
not heard much about Colonel Lawrence at that time. The war in 
Arabia was remote from Palestine, with the Turko-German armies 
between, and Lawrence s exploits had been kept a profound secret. 
A day or two before this I was returning from the hospital with my 
husband and we noticed a Bedouin coming down the steps from Fast s 
Hotel. Frederick said: 

"Do you see that Bedouin?" 

"Yes. Why?" 


"He is not a Bedouin at all but an Englishman who has been 
among the Sherifian troops." 

I thought this quite impossible, for I had never seen a European 
wear the Arab dress with such ease. The correct wearing of the long 
robe, the seamless abayah, which an Arab gathers round himself mak 
ing certain folds, is difficult for a foreigner to acquire, and this, to 
the accustomed eye, gives him away. The Bedouin headdress, the 
kaffiyeh and agal, is hard to manage for a non-Bedouin, and there 
is an unspoken language which the Bedouin understands in the manner 
in which the kaffiyeh is worn. All these mannerisms were perfect in 
the person whom Frederick told me was an Englishman and whose 
name was Colonel Lawrence. 

It may be that Colonel Lawrence was not pleased that Mother de 
layed receiving him. At all events he was curt and silent during the 
visit. I said something about the Bedouins, for we were on very 
friendly terms with the Bedouins east of the Jordan. (Had I not been 
initiated into the Adwan tribe as a child?) Colonel Lawrence turned 
his back as soon as I mentioned the word "Bedouin." I thought him 
rude and did not try again to create conversation. Mother soon ar 
rived, and I left the room. 

The next time I met Colonel Lawrence I found myself sitting next 
to him at dinner at the house of Colonel Storrs. I turned to my neigh 
bor on the other side and conversed with him all through dinner. As 
I left the table with the other ladies, Colonel Lawrence turned to me 
and said: "We re quits," and smiled in his most engaging manner. 
When the men of the party joined us in the drawing room to listen to 
a recital of music Colonel Storrs had arranged for the entertainment 
of his guests, Colonel Lawrence walked straight over to the broad 
window sill where I was sitting. We spent the rest of the evening to 
gether, and in the intervals between music he told me about his ex- \ 
citing life in the most natural manner, as though it were nothing at 
all to lead a raid and blow up Turkish bridges, and about Auda Abu 
Tayi, that incredible man who was later so useful to Colonel Law 
rence. At first Colonel Lawrence knew that Auda was as much a Ger 
man instrument as he was a British, and Colonel Lawrence told him 
in feigned confidence exactly what he wanted the Germans to know. 
It was not until one morning when he heard something being smashed 
outside his tent and raised the flap to see what was going on, that he 
realized that Auda had really chosen his master. Auda was smashing 
something with a stone, and to Colonel Lawrence s question his only 
answer was "Don t you trust me? Am I not true to you?" Colonel 
Lawrence assured him that of course he trusted him, he had never 
doubted him. "But what are you doing?" Auda, still with his back 
to Colonel Lawrence and still grinding, said, "Wallah, I can t eat 


English food with German teeth." "So," said Colonel Lawrence, "I 
had to fly Auda to Egypt and get him a new set of teeth." 

We saw Colonel Lawrence often after this. He was shy and reserved, 
and kept away from social gatherings and parties. He had suffered 
from conjunctivitis and his eyes were weak. One had to get behind 
his reserve really to know and appreciate his greatness. He rarely 
spoke about his achievements. We had one topic to which we could 
always revert in conversation, Gertrude Bell. We both admired her 
archaeological work, her unusual intellect, her accomplishments, and 
her writings. Another mutual friend was Ronald Storrs, and no con 
versation about him was ever dull. 

Colonel Storrs, "successor of Pontius Pilate," as he liked to call 
himself, was military governor of Jerusalem our first Easter under the 

The Greek Orthodox Church keeps to the old Julian calendar, 
which is thirteen days later than ours. However, as Easter in both 
calendars falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the 
twenty-first of March, it sometimes falls in a different moon from the 
Western Easter and maybe the same date, one or five weeks later. In 
1918 the Greek Orthodox Easter fell on the fifth of May, which was 
that year five weeks later than Western Easter, March 31, and coin 
cided with the Jewish Passover and Nebi Musa Procession. 

The festive season had always been an anxious time for whoever 
was governor of Jerusalem. Colonel Storrs was desirous that the 
ecclesiastical differences connected with the Easter ceremonies of the 
many Eastern churches, which overlapped and frequently clashed in 
the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, should proceed with utmost tran- 
quility. It was largely because of his personal efforts and his remark 
able insight and understanding of traditions belonging to the Eastern 
churches that the ceremony of the Holy Fire passed off without mili 
tary or police intervention inside the church. This had never hap 
pened before. There was a long tradition of riot and violence during 
the Turkish period of occupation, owing to the venality of the Turk 
ish officials, who encouraged communal rivalries. Extra Turkish troops 
were always quartered in Jerusalem and inside the church to hold the 
peace which might so easily be broken by disputes over the respective 
rights of the various denominations using the same church at the same 
hour; and between Moslems, Jews, and Christians equally inflamed 
with religious fervor. 

The new government was solicitous not to give offense and was 
careful in its handling of conflicting religious questions. Indian Mos 
lem troops were guarding the Dome of the Rock and al Aksa Mosque. 
The commander in chief gave every possible facility to make success 
ful the procession of Nebi Musa and the week of pilgrimage at the 


purported Tomb of Moses. British, French, and Italian sentries 
guarded the Holy Sepulcher. 

Great care was taken to safeguard the Jewish pilgrimages to the 
Wailing Wall and the celebration of the Feast of the Passover. 

One of the many improvements for which Palestine has the mili 
tary government to thank was his ability to induce the Greek Ortho 
dox clergy to remove the unsightly wall cutting o2 the Ikonostasis of 
the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and exposing the high altar 
to view from the entrance. 

This beautiful basilica, founded by Constantine and rebuilt by 
Justinian in the sixth century, alone escaped the destruction which in 
the course of many wars ruined almost all the churches of that period 
in Jerusalem. 

The old controversy between the Greek clergy and the Arab laity 
continued after the British occupation, and in 1921 a commission was 
appointed to investigate and report to the High Commissioner. It 
consisted of Sir Anton Bertram, M.A., K.C., chief justice of Ceylon, 
sometime puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Cyprus, and Mr. 
(later Sir) Harry Charles Luke, B.Litt., M.A., assistant governor of 

The breach between some of the Synod and the Patriarch made the 
constitution of a quorum impossible, and the Synod ceased to function. 
The crisis arose at a time when because of World War I the Patri 
archate was temporarily insolvent. Its debts had risen to an unprece 
dented figure which it was unable to pay, and also unable to meet its 
current expenditures. All pilgrims had stopped coming, and its income 
from that source had ceased, and the Russian and Rumanian govern 
ments had confiscated the income-producing properties owned here by 
the Jerusalem Patriarch. 

To supplement deficiencies in their budget, the Greek Convent 
had for many years made loans which paid a high rate of interest and 
had carried on a banking establishment. 

People of all types entrusted their money to the convent. Inciden 
tally, it gave the convent ready money for current expenses. 

During World War I the convent had received no income from 
Russia or from pilgrims and was burdened with heavy expenses, which 
it met by huge borrowings. These debts it was unable to pay when 
peace returned because Russia confiscated its funds and property in 
Russia. A special moratorium was declared, which was in effect a 
declaration of bankruptcy. 

Two Arab members of the Orthodox Community were appointed in 
an advisory capacity, under the chairmanship of Sir Anton Bertram, 
by Sir Herbert Samuel, the High Commissioner of Palestine, to make 
a report. The report consists of a book of three hundred and thirty- 


three pages of interesting material. In consequence of this exhaustive 
report, Sir Herbert, later Lord Samuel, promulgated an ordinance for 
the liquidation of the debts of the Orthodox Patriarchate by selling 
parts of the vast amount of land belonging to it. In this way the plots 
of land now occupied by the Jerusalem Y.M.C.A. and the King David 
Hotel were purchased from the Greek Convent. 

We heard a great deal about it all at the time, because Sir Anton 
and Lady Bertram stopped at the Colony. It was a privilege to know 
them and to count them among our friends. 

This commission, making it possible for the debts of the convent to 
be paid, did not settle the burning controversy between the clergy 
and laity of the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1925 Sir Anton Bertram, 
with the help of Mr. J. W. A. Young, was appointed to go further into 
the trouble. Sir Herbert Samuel in his letter to the Orthodox Patriarch 
wrote that he was desirous, before laying down his office as High Com 
missioner, "of endeavoring to find a solution to these questions, which, 
while preserving the essential character and the ancient dignity of the 
illustrious Patriarchate, will free it from disputes which have impaired 
its effectiveness; and I earnestly trust that in this effort I may have the 
support and co-operation of your Beatitude." 

The second report is a book of three hundred and seventy-two 
pages, but as far as I know it has not brought about a better feeling 
between the clergy and the members of the Arab Greek Orthodox 

Following the advice of the Commission, the finances were super 
vised for years by an Englishman. 

About May 1918 the American Red Cross came to Jerusalem under 
the able command of Colonel John H. Finley. It was a revelation to 
see the amount of equipment they brought. It seemed more than the 
whole Turkish Army had possessed. Major Lowenstein, director of 
Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Major T. Waters, assistant editor 
of the Christian Herald; returning workers and missionaries; Miss 
Alice Jones and Mr. Edward Kelsey of the Friends Mission in Ra- 
mallah; and others were among the personnel of the American Red 
Cross. I was released from my many duties connected with the relief 
so that I could help Colonel Finley. 

To have had the privilege of knowing Colonel Finley is one of the 
treasured memories of my life. When he came to Palestine as Red 
Gross commissioner for the Near East it was on a mission that ap 
pealed deeply to every part of his being. The vision then dawning of a 
better order in the Near East, the belief that the United States might 
attribute to it, and the fact that the British cause was represented by 
gifted men as AUenby, Lawrence, and Storrs, gave the great 


undertaking an atmosphere of hope. He entered Jerusalem as Allenby 
had, on foot, as a pilgrim. 

Colonel Finley knew the Bible so well that his present errand was 
almost to repeat, in a modern way, the experience of a medieval pil 
grim beholding sacred places long imagined. He walked the traditional 
length of Palestine from Dan to Beersheba, only he reversed the tradi 
tional journey, entering Dan only a few hours after its capture by the 
advancing British Army. From his experiences in the Holy Land 
would come his book, A Pilgrim in Palestine. When he returned to 
New York it would be as associate editor, editor, and editor emeritus 
of the New York Times (1921-4Q). 

Many years later, when General Allenby came to Jerusalem for 
the opening of the magnificent Y.M.C.A., he said to me, "In retracing 
my paths again I miss that great compatriot of yours, Colonel Finley 
a great man!" 

Colonel Finley took over the old Bergheim House as Red Cross 
Headquarters and some of the buildings in the Russian Compound for 
laboratories, workrooms, and living quarters for personnel. The whole 
place buzzed with activity. It was a new experience for Jerusalem to 
witness American efficiency, speed, and accomplishment. 

It had been the custom of the American Colony to give a garden 
party on the Fourth of July. This had to be suspended during the war 
years. We found that Colonel Finley had decided to have the official 
opening of the Red Cross Headquarters on the same historic date, so 
we compromised by putting off our reception to a later time. 

We sent an invitation to the commander in chief through the mili 
tary governor, and Colonel Storrs wrote to say that General Allenby 
had accepted. No flags flew in Palestine except the Red Cross flags 
over hospitals, but the Red Cross Headquarters was Beautifully deco 
rated with the English and United States flags entwined. Colonel 
Finley made one of his choice speeches in which he spoke about this 
being Independence Day, the birthday of the Daughter of England, 
which had cost some severe pangs, and which we now celebrate as 
"Interdependence Day." General Allenby made a short but gracious 
response. The guests then all proceeded to the American Colony, 
where refreshments were served. The children of the Colony performed 
a drill in fancy dress, which received enthusiastic applause. Members 
of the Syria and Palestine Relief, American Red Cross, and Hadassah 
Medical Units were invited, besides many Arab andJewish friends. 

Colonel Storrs invited Frederick and me to bring our children to 
see the unfolding of the Saint George s flag in the small chapel of 
Saint George in the Anglican Cathedral. General Allenby and Bishop 
and Mrs. Maclnnes were present, but they had not been allowed to 
bring their family to Jerusalem. We stood in a group in the close after 


the ceremony and Colonel Storrs, with his usual humor, said to 
the commander in chief, pointing to our children, that these were the 
most obstreperous inhabitants of Jerusalem, and that he had more 
trouble in keeping them in order than any others. General Allenby was 
holding his huge walking stick, and he handed this to Colonel Storrs 
with a resounding laugh, saying, "Use this on them." I shall never for 
get the look of fear on the face of my four-year-old Jock. He had seen 
the Turkish soldiers being beaten and thought this was what was 
going to happen to him; however, he was soon consoled. 

It was that day, when General Allenby saw our robust children, that 
he facilitated the Maclnnes children s reunion with their parents in 

Less than a week after this happy Fourth of July my sense of felicity 
had a brief interruption. German nationals had few restrictions, but 
suddenly the British policy changed, and we heard that all German 
subjects were to be sent to Helwan on the Nile. Frederick and I won 
dered what our fate would be. 

On July 10 we gave a dinner to Colonel Finley. I have forgotten 
who the other guests were, but our table held twelve and was full to 
capacity. I remember the majority were British officers, and that there 
were very few ladies ladies were scarce articles in Jerusalem in those 
days. While we were at dinner an official envelope was brought me by 
messenger. I opened it and read a printed slip: 

A notice is being sent today to German, Austrian, and Bulgarian subjects 
to prepare themselves for evacuation from Palestine. 

This intimation will not be forwarded to you as it is not the intention of 
the authorities to send you away, unless you are desirous of accompanying 
the members of your Community to their internment camp in Egypt. 

(Signed) R. STORRS, Colonel, 

Military Governor. 

Colonel Finley was the only person to sense something was wrong, 
and quietly asked what was the matter and could he help. I handed him 
the slip of paper under the table so that no one else would be attracted. 
He read it and understood it as I had: it inferred that while I was 
exempted because I was an American citizen, my husband would have 
to go. 

Engaged, apparently, merely in dinner-table chatter, Colonel Finley 
and I planned. He offered to see the commander in chief, Allenby, 
and carry to him my request that if possible he should give permission 
for tibe cMIdren to remain with Mother, since I was determined to 
follow my husband into internment. Then I turned back to my other 
gps% and how I managed to continue conversation with them I shall 
ae\pec know, but I did. After fruit, I led the ladies into the library for 
coffee, aad as soon as they were engrossed in conversation I went 


to the dining-room door and beckoned to Frederick. He left the table 
and came to me. I showed him the frightening order. 

Frederick smiled and took me in his arms. "I got one too," he. said, 
"but as it came by a different messenger, and just as we were sitting 
down to dinner, I thought it best not to disturb you." 

It would be hard to describe my relief and our gratitude at learning 
Colonel Storrs s message had been merely a form and means of exemp 
tion. I believe we were the only people in Jerusalem who were so 

Colonel Storrs became Uncle Ronald to our six children. Many 
times I returned from work in the hospital to find him sitting on the 
nursery floor with all the children clustered around him while he 
read aloud to them Alice in Wonderland or some other of the chil 
dren s classics. 

Major Theodore Waters, assistant editor of the Christian Herald 
and major in the Red Cross contingent under Colonel Finley, had 
brought a request from Dr. Koenig that the American Colony should 
conduct some work in Jerusalem which the Christian Herald under 
took to support. After debate and many consultations the consensus of 
opinion was that the most urgent need was for an orphanage in which 
to house the small neglected children wandering the streets. 

Major Waters left five thousand dollars in the bank to enable us to 
get this started and then left Palestine. Until 1922, when my husband 
and I came to the United States, the American Colony conducted 
this orphanage in the name of the Christian Herald. Our friend Dr. 
Koenig had died and frequent changes in the editorship made the 
continuance of this undertaking difficult. One of the little Arab girls in 
the orphanage had belonged to a wealthy family before the war, but 
she was in a pitiable condition. We had found the mother with two 
small daughters nearly starved. Little Asma had a distended abdomen 
from starvation. She also had scald head, or f avus. We did everything 
we could to cure the head, but to no avail. One day the mother said 
that if she only had ten shillings she would cure the scald head, using 
the Arabic way. I gave her ten shillings, and she took her little daugh 
ter away. 

After some days the doctor who attended the orphanage asked 
where Asma was and I told him what I had done. He said if only there 
was an X ray in Jerusalem we could cure Asma s head as easily and 
painlessly as having her picture taken. Then he asked me if I knew 
what the "Arabic way" was. When I said I did not, he answered, "I 
thought as much." He explained that after cutting the hair short the 
remaining hair was covered with a cotton cap made fast with pitch. 
After several applications, making sure that every hair was stuck fast 
to the cap by repeated applications of pitch, several women took hold 


of the child and, while she was held tight, the cap was pulled ofi, hair 
and all. It was really scalping. It was efficacious, for instinct tells them 
that the disease is in the roots of the hair, but painfully cruel and 

I was so horrified to think of Asma s suffering and filled with re 
morse for my part in it that I made a solemn vow to collect money to 
buy an X-ray apparatus for Jerusalem. John Whiting helped me, and 
through the generosity of Mr. Frederick Loesch, a prominent Chicago 
lawyer who came to Jerusalem on a cruise about this time and heard 
us tell about the need, he and some of his friends provided the neces 
sary money to buy the latest model in X ray with a view to curing 
scald head, free of charge, for the poor of Palestine. 

The American Colony had no hospital under its care at the time, 
so the X-ray machine was placed in Government Hospital under 
British supervision, where we felt it would do the most good. 

After I was relieved from the management of the workrooms, we 
tried to get away to rest, but it was impossible to venture far from 
Jerusalem; war was still in progress. We rented a house on the Plain 
of Rephaim, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where David fought 
the Philistines. 

The house stood alone on the plain which has since been covered 
with houses belonging to the better Arab classes. It had large grounds 
with huge eucalyptus trees. At this time the whole plain was covered 
as far as one could see with the camps of the Australian light-horse 

We followed with keen interest the advance of Allenby s forces 
north and east. My brother-in-law was busy working with the large- 
scale maps made from the survey of Palestine by the Palestine Ex 
ploration Fund. The fieldwork was done in the 1870s by Lieutenant, 
later Lord, Kitchener. John s work extended eastward into the un 
charted desert through which he had traveled and it was his duty to 
bring these maps up to date from a military standpoint. This push 
eastward necessitated the minutest information about every source of 
water in that part of the country. Every spring, well, or cistern was to 
be marked with the amount of water available. Roads and paths and 
the strength of bridges were to be noted, also how to bypass them if 
the bridges happened to be blown up. Another of John s duties was to 
translate between the Bedouins who came from across the Jordan and 
file British officers. He can speak and understand several dialects of 
Arabic, and to the untrained ear they sound almost like a different 
language. As interpreter John was often in attendance upon the com- 
majider in chief. 

On one occasion a number of sheiks came from Moab to get their 


final briefing. As they waited to meet General Allenby, John noticed 
that the sheiks were nervous. They made John promise that he would 
point out the "General Inglezi" (English general) to them, for fear 
they would make an error in precedent. But when General Allenby 
came forward, towering above his entire staff which followed him, his 
magnificent stature and physique, his amiable and friendly manner, 
made the Bedouin s ideal of what a general should be. "Wallah! The 
General Inglezi jaddah [The English general is a real man]," they said. 
After a careful briefing they were told to meet at a precise spot on 
the fourth day to get the final orders. 

The headman among the group took John s hand in his and turned 
his finger down into the palm of his hand, then the second, third, and 
fourth. As each finger was pressed down he said, "We meet not on this 
day, or this or this, but on this, the fourth day." John assured him that 
he was correct, but the sheik was not satisfied until John had taken 
General Allenby s hand in his and while translating what the sheik 
said, turned four of the General s fingers into his palm. 

The Turks made stubborn resistance across the defile of Ein Farrah, 
where we had spent many happy days picnicking. The boldness of the 
country in this vicinity made the advance of the cavalry difficult. In 
places they could go only single file. The Good Samaritan s Inn, half 
way to Jericho, and Nebi Musa were taken sometime in February, 
gaining the north end of the Dead Sea, and opened up communications 
with the northern operations of the Sherifian army. Djemal Pasha had 
made a naval base on the north end of the Dead Sea with workshops. 
The landing place was afterward used to advantage when the Sherifian 
army was near Karak. 

There were heavy rains during March, and the River Jordan was in 
flood, but a raid upon the enemy s communications in Moab was con 
sidered. It was the Hedjaz Railroad that was feeding the Turkish forces 
which must be destroyed. This was the first combined action between 
Allenby s troops and the Sherifian forces. It was under the command of 
General Sir John Shea. The Jordan was unf ordable because of so much 
flood water, and the bridge had been blown up, so a pontoon bridge 
was thrown across. The advance was further hindered by a feud which 
was being waged between the Moslem Circassians and the Christian 
Arabs of El Fuhais near Es Salt. There are several villages east of the 
Jordan inhabited by Circassians who, in the reign of Sultan Abdul-, 
Hamid, Caliph, and the Sultan gave land to several thousands of them 
who settled in the mountains of Moab. They are industrious, and their 
villages are a contrast in cleanliness to the Arab villages, but there is 
continual strife between these fair-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian Moslem 
Circassians and their Christian Arab neighbors. One of these feuds was 
in progress at this time. 


The raid on Es Salt and Amman was successful but met with diffi 
culties. The situation in Es Salt became complicated owing to Turkish 
reinforcements having arrived, but before the British withdrew the 
whole of the captured ammunition was blown up. 

The civilian population had welcomed the British troops, and the 
fear of Turkish revenge prompted thousands of refugees to follow the 
British troops into Palestine. 

Colonel T. B. Layton told us about this raid and the manifold diffi 
culties encountered, in great part owing to the bad weather. He 
brought many wounded back to Jerusalem. 

As Colonel Layton was leaving Es Salt he saw two small children, 
a boy and a girl of about four and two years old, sitting under an olive 
tree by the side of the road. He looked around to find some person to 
whom the children belonged. Finding no one, he imagined that they 
had been abandoned, so he picked them up and brought them in his 
car to Jerusalem. I received them with a note from Colonel Layton: 
"Herewith two children picked up by the side of the road in Wad 
es Shaib." We kept the children. Finally the mother arrived. She 
had been one of our needle-lace workers, who had fled to Moab with 
her two children in the hope of finding more food there. When she 
realized that the civilians were leaving Es Salt, she had carried her two 
children out of the city, and placing them under an olive tree, had gone 
back for the baby. It was while she was gone that Colonel Layton found 
the two children abandoned, as he thought. The mother said, "I knew 
the children would be brought to the American Colony; that is why I 
have come straight here." 

The Anzac troops were stationed for some time in the Jordan Valley. 
As spring advanced, the heat of the subtropical valley became hard to 
bear, and the Australians got restless. The Rev. Stacy Waddy, later 
canon of Saint George s Cathedral in Jerusalem and archdeacon of 
Palestine, was padre to the Australian soldiers at the time. In a lecture 
he told us about their hardships and about one of the ways in which 
the troops amused themselves. They would stage a fight between a gray 
scorpion, which is considered more dangerous than the black scorpion 
of more temperate regions and the black hairy tarantula. Betting would 
be brisk until one or the other succumbed. The scorpion was at a dis 
advantage because he had to manipulate his tail to sting while the 
tarantula worked faster. Frequently the spider won, only to die later. 

In September 1918 the commander in chief made the historic dash 
which caught the major part of the Turkish Army in and around Naza 
reth and in the narrow defile leading to the Jordan Valley. The move 
ments of British troops had been kept so secret, so perfectly concealed 
in orange and olive groves near Ludd and Ramleh, that German Intel 
ligence reported "nothing unusual to report." A bold plan had been 


conceived and carried out for deceiving the enemy by leaving dummy 
horses at the deserted camps in the Jordan Valley, and the enemy was 
completely taken by surprise. Marshal Liman von Sanders Pasha only 
just escaped in his pajamas from Nazareth. We were told that the Ger 
man deaconesses held up the British officer with polite conversation 
while the marshal left by the back door. 

The Australians came through the historic defile at Megiddo and put 
the Turks to flight. The commander in chief returned to his head 
quarters saying, "I tell you it is not only a victory, it is a rout." This 
victory at Megiddo is the reason the commander in chief chose the title 
"Lord of Felixstowe and Megiddo" when he was made a peer. 

The terrorism we had feared from the retreating Turkish Army 
was later perpetrated on the unfortunate inhabitants of the country 
east of the Jordan and the Hauran, where they made an example of 
several villages. Women and children were butchered in revolting 
circumstances. The Arabs, instead of being overawed and terrorized 
into subjection by this, were justly incensed at this Turkish outrage, 
and fought with greater courage. 

After the complete rout at Samaria and Galilee the advance into 
Damascus was rapid. Colonel Lawrence with the Sherifian forces 
played an important part in this campaign. 

Our next Chief Administrator was General Sir Louis Bols, who 
later was governor of Bermuda. 

To a certain extent the Arabs had confidence in the military ad 
ministration, which had done its best to carry out the Hague Con 
vention and had tried to influence the Zionist Commission to fall in 
with General Allenby s proclamation, but the Zionist Commission was 
not in a conciliatory mood. It enjoyed strong support in England 
and from the Zionists in the United States and it would not compro 

By this time there had been two serious outbreaks of violent anti- 
Zionist antagonism. 

In 1920 forty-seven Jews were killed and one hundred and 
forty-six wounded. Forty-eight Arabs were also killed, but mostly in 
the course of quelling the disturbance. A delegation of women went to 
headquarters of O.E.T.A. (Occupied Enemy Territory Administra 
tion) and demanded that justice be done to the Arabs. I was asked 
to join the procession, but I refused, because the American Colony 
had never taken part in any political controversy. Anti-Zionist riots 
continued and brought matters to a head. General Sir Louis Bols 
wrote to general headquarters in Cairo stating that he could not allo 
cate the blame to any section of the community or to individuals while 


their case was still sub judlce, but he stated in no uncertain terms that 
when the strain came the Zionist Commission adopted a hostile and 
critical attitude. General Bols warned headquarters that this state of 
affairs could not continue without grave danger to the public peace. It 
was no use saying to the Moslem and Christian elements of the popu 
lation, who comprised 90 per cent, that the status quo at the time of 
the entrance of General Allenby was being kept. He recommended in 
the interests of peace and development, and even for the Zionists 
themselves, the Zionist Commission be abolished. As far as I 
know this was never published. The British Cabinet was not in accord 
with General Bols and instead of the Zionist Commission it was the 
military administration that was abolished. Their answer to his sug 
gestion was to install in Palestine a civil administration with a Jewish 
High Commissioner. 

Finding himself summarily superseded, Sir Louis Bols wished to 
leave at once, but he was asked to remain until Sir Herbert Samuel, 
the new High Commissioner, arrived. True to the best British tradi 
tion, no resentment was manifest. 

When the formalities of handing the office over to Sir Herbert 
Samuel were completed, Sir Louis Bols, as a joke to accord with 
military practice, asked Sir Herbert if he would mind signing a receipt 
for Palestine. 

On a sheet of Government House notepaper Sir Louis had written 
in his own hand: "Received from Major General Sir Louis Bols one 
Palestine complete." Sir Herbert smilingly agreed, signed, and left 
the room. 

Later an aide-de-camp returned, asking if Sir Herbert might have 
the receipt back for a moment, as he wished to add something to his 

He had originally signed only "Herbert Samuel, * but when returned 
the signature bore the addition of the letters "E. & O.E." to accord 
with civil practice. 

Sir Louis Bols s son, Major General Eric Bols, kindly explained to 
me what this meant; the British business abbreviation for "errors and 
omissions excepted." 

A number of British officials resigned their positions rather than 
remain under the new civil regime. Among these was Colonel Pop- 
ham, assistant governor of Jerusalem. 

Dr. Glazebrook s return to Jerusalem as American Consul was 
opportune for the American Colony. A custodian for enemy property 
had been appointed. He tried to include all the property belonging 
to the American Colony under this category, because it was registered 
m Frederick s name, as representing the American Colony, and Fred 
erick wa$ still a German subject It was Dr. Glazebrook s return to 


Jerusalem and his testifying that Frederick had wanted to have the 
property put in the name of an American member, which Dr. Glaze- 
brook had opposed, knowing that Frederick could still protect it, 
which frustrated the custodian s plan to get hold of it. 

Dr. Glazebrook remained only a short time in Palestine and Mother 
suggested that the American Colony give a garden party in his honor. 
Sir Louis Bols was also leaving Palestine. This was the end of 
O.E.T.A; Palestine was to have a civil administration and Sir Herbert 
Samuel was to be our first High Commissioner. Mother asked per 
mission to give the garden party jointly in honor of Palestine s last 
Chief Administrator, Sir Louis Bols, and the United States Consul 
Dr. Glazebrook. About five hundred people attended. Before noon 
of that day Mr. Burton Holmes, the renowned travelogue lecturer, 
called on Mother, and she promptly invited him to the party. Mr. 
Burton Holmes asked permission to bring his photographer and take a 
film of the gathering. Permission was granted by Government House 
and the United States Consulate. 

This film shows the Greek Orthodox Patriarch and other ecclesias 
tical dignitaries sitting with the guests enjoying the music by the 
American Colony band and drills performed by the children. Jamil 
Effendi al Husseini, the Grand Mufti, and Mrs. Norman Bentwich, 
wife of the Jewish Attorney General, are seen enjoying a good joke 
together, and Sir Ronald Storrs and Mrs. Ragib Bey Nashashebie, 
wife of Jerusalem s mayor, are having a confidential conversation. So 
we have a record of that unique gathering when British officials and 
civilians, with Jews and Arabs, mingled and had a good time. 

Jacob wrote in a letter: 

On Sunday, November 14, a service of Thanksgiving was held in the 
Collegiate Church of Saint George for the glorious and decisive victory 
of the Allies, and the termination of the war. All the Eastern Christian 
churches were represented by their highest ecclesiastics. Both the Grand 
Mufti of Jerusalem and Grand Rabbi were in the Cathedral. 

And Mother wrote: 

Our children, some of whom remember nothing but the war, now had 
the time of their life. They gathered all the bells and tin cans they could 
find, stripping our ten camels of their bells and making festoons of these, 
carried them between them running all round the house, whistling and 
making the greatest noise they could. They lit a bonfire and had great fun 
out of that. Our band went out and serenaded the Chief Administrator 
and Governor Storrs. On every side of Jerusalem the soldiers manifested 
their joy by sending up rockets and starting bonfires, red lights, etc. It 
was impossible to have a delirium of joy here, except inwardly, for the 
means available were most limited. 


NOT long after the end of World War I rumors began that a 
German Consul was returning to Palestine. It was evident that we 
would have to do something about my husband s nationality, Fred 
erick felt he could no longer ask for German protection when he had 
failed to stand on the German side in the war. Ever since that day 
at the Probst s house, when Frederick made his declaration against 
the German invasion of Belgium, we had talked of becoming Ameri 
can citizens if we survived the war. 

With this intention in mind, we left for the United States in April 
1922, taking with us our three elder children, Anna Grace, Horatio, 
and Tanetta. Our plan was that when we were settled we would have 
the three younger children, Jock, Louise, and Frieda, brought over to 
us by their Swedish nurse, who was a member of the Colony. Mean 
time they would stay in Jerusalem with Mother and Sister Grace. 

Mother came to the railway station to see us off, and it happened 
that a regiment of soldiers was leaving for Egypt and the military 
band played "The End of a Perfect Day." The plaintive strains were 
appropriate, for our going to the United States was the end of a 
chapter in our lives. 

We had many letters that we hoped would speed Frederick s 
naturalization plans. Our friends among the British officials were 
eager to help us succeed. The Chief Secretary, Sir Wyndham Deedes, 
who, under Lord Allenby, was head of the Intelligence Department 
and knew more about Frederick s case than anyone else, sent the 
accompanying statement with a covering letter for us to use in case 
of need: 

I clearly recollect the case of Mr. Vester which, together with the cases 
of the other Germans whom we found in Jerusalem when we occupied 
the city, it was my duty, as head of the Political Intelligence Department 
of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, to deal with. We sent all the Ger 
mans in Jerusalem down to Egypt* The only exception, as far as I can 
remember, was Mr. Vester. His case was considered from the beginning to 
be on a different footing to that of other Germans. 


First, by reason of his being the husband of Mrs. Vester, an American 

Second, by reason of the fact that he was one of the members of the 
American Colony and was held in high esteem by all who knew him. 

And third, because it was publicly known that his sympathies, in the 
question of the war, were with the Allies and contrary to the policy and 
actions of Germany. 

Finally, he, together with his wife and other members of the American 
Colony, had shown repeated kindness to British prisoners of war at 
considerable personal risk before the occupation. 

Mr. Vester was never treated therefore other than as an Allied subject 
and so he has continued to be regarded. I renewed my acquaintance with 
Mr. Vester while I was Chief Secretary to the Palestine Administration 
and I have never had any doubt that the exceptional treatment meted out 
to him during the war was fully warranted both by reason of his personal 
character and of the general esteem in which he was held by branches of 
the community in Jerusalem. 


Colonel Reserve of Officers 

The following is an extract from a letter sent to us by Major Gen 
eral Sir Arthur Money: 

Levington Hall 

During the operations of the British Expeditionary Force which in 
vaded Palestine from Egypt, Mr. and Mrs. Vester of the American Colony 
in Jerusalem devoted themselves to the care of the British soldiers 
wounded and taken as prisoners to Jerusalem by the Germans and Turks. 
Their care and devotion were undoubtedly responsible for saving the lives 
of many British wounded, and for ameliorating the condition of many 

This action tended to make Mr. Vester unpopular amongst his German 
compatriots. I heard on all sides of their good work when I became Chief 
Administrator of Palestine after the capture of Jerusalem. 

(signed) A. W. MONEY. 

Major General 

We went to Egypt by the newly constructed military railroad. 
Every mile of the road through the desert was interesting to us. It had 
been built by AUenby s engineers, and we had followed its progress 
with anxiety, knowing that our deliverance depended on its comple 
tion. We crossed the Mediterranean in the Esperia, built to accom 
modate and gratify the rich Egyptian clientele who traveled year by 
year to Monte Carlo and the Riviera. The lounge was all gilt and 
glitter but without one comfortable chair. We landed in Venice, then 


crossed Italy to Rome and Naples, where we caught the Patria of the 
old Fabre Line. 

At last the New York skyline came into view. I saw the Statue of 
Liberty. My husband stood beside me. We were tremendously moved. 
We had at last come to the "Land of the Free" and the "Home of the 
Brave." What did it hold for us? 

To make this break in our lives and cross the Atlantic had neces 
sitated much planning. We would have to support ourselves while we 
were in the United States. We considered that a branch of our store 
in New York might be a good investment. 

Mr. and Mrs. James Morgan were good friends. We had met them 
in Jerusalem. Mr. Morgan was editor of the Boston Globe, and they 
lived in Lynn, Massachusetts. We thought while we were being ini 
tiated into the American methods and mode of life, and while deciding 
how and where to start business, that we could not do better than live 
near the Morgans. They rented a furnished cottage for us in Lynn 
and supplemented what was lacking. Even the supper was on the 
table when we arrived, and we were introduced to Boston baked 
beans on that first evening. 

Next morning I looked around for the household implements I 
was accustomed to having our servants use in Jerusalem. I found a 
black mop which I washed before using it on the floor. Later, I found 
it was neither dirty nor greasy, but was what people use on a parquet 
floor in the United States. I had no idea how to use an electric 
vacuum cleaner. I was frightened of a gas stove. I had heard how 
prevalent fires were in wooden houses. Our houses in Jerusalem are 
built solidly of stone, so that fires are not a menace. I telephoned and 
confessed my difficulties and fears to Mrs. Morgan; I can still hear 
her laugh. 

That afternoon I was sitting on the porch, quite exhausted with the 
unsuccessful efforts of my first day of housework in the United States, 
when a car stopped at our gate and its driver got out, a lady wearing 
a stylish hat with a veil, a neat suit, and black kid gloves. 

Who could this caller be? I extended a hand in welcome as she 
said, "Mrs. Morgan told me you were looking for someone to help 
you with the housework." I have forgotten what I said, but I know 
what I thought. How could I ask this superior person to work? But 
Mrs. Ladrie adopted us and became our friend and helper. 

When necessity called, her husband proved a useful part of the 
family. There was nothing Mr. Ladrie could not turn his hand to. He 
took us sightseeing in their car to Salem to see the House of Seven 
Gables and to Revere Beach. He drove for us on an extended tour 
through the White Mountains. The New England countryside was 
beautiful in summer. The abundance of water, trees, and green 


foliage was manna to eyes accustomed to the parched Palestinian 
summer landscape. 

Before we left Jerusalem the Colony had bought all but two parts 
comprising several shares each in the "Big House" as we called the 
main building of the American Colony at Sheik Jerah. In a preceding 
chapter I have explained that property administered under Sharia law 
is divided into twenty-four carats or shares. The remaining few be 
longed to Hadj Amin al Husseini and his brother. 

We had no money at the time to enable us to buy up the shares, 
and the threat of division was real and urgent. We hoped on our trip 
to the United States to be able to raise a loan on the property from 
some of our friends. In response to several letters, the most promising 
was one from Mrs. Chester A. Congdon of Duluth, Minnesota. This 
necessitated Frederick and me taking the Great Lakes trip, and we 
enjoyed every minute of it. 

The first question her lawyer asked us when we arrived in Duluth 
was what we had to show that we represented the American Colony. 
Frederick and I looked at each other in dismay. We did not have even 
a scrap of paper to identify us. We had felt so much a part of the 
Colony that it never occurred to us that we would need identification. 
The conference lasted a short time. Evidently Mrs. Congdon, her son, 
and their lawyer were convinced of our integrity, for they loaned us 
the required sum with moderate interest, to be paid back at the first 
possible moment. Our gratitude was unbounded. We wanted the 
Colony to know this good news at once, so we cabled "Thirty thou 
sand, thank God." In Jerusalem, the Colony members were being 
pressed by Hadj Amin and his brother. They were increas 
ing their threats to bring the Colony to terms. Mother, Brother 
Jacob, and John Whiting felt that the other members of the Colony 
should know about these difficulties and they called a meeting to 
explain them and to pray that God would facilitate our efforts to ob 
tain the necessary loan. While the meeting was in session our tele 
gram was banded to John Whiting. He was so moved that he felt faint. 
Jacob, thinking it was bad news, took the telegram and read it aloud 
to the assembly. All were in tears. We all believed in prayer, but it is 
not often that an answer comes so promptly. 

We began business in a small way in New York, and one of the 
young men from the Colony was put in charge. This developed 
into a branch of the American Colony stores in New York. 

Our next most pressing duty was to go to Washington and deliver 
Lord Northcliffe s letter of introduction to Mr. Charles Evans Hughes, 
then Secretary of State, and ascertain his idea about Frederick s 
naturalization. While we were gone, Miss Mattoon, who conducted a 
girls* camp on Lake Winnepesaukee, invited Anna Grace and Tanetta 


to spend the time at her camp. She was a friend of American Consul 
and Mrs. W. Coffin, who were in Jerusalem, and she had met us at 
their home. Horatio went as counselor to a boys camp in the vicinity, 
and they all had a marvelous time. When we returned to Jerusalem 
they were continually asked to sing American camp songs. 

Mr. Hughes received us in his office in the State Department in 
Washington. He was interested in our story, but explained that to have 
Frederick gain United States citizenship by special act of Congress 
constituted a colossal transaction with endless red tape. It might arouse 
opposition because of creating a precedent. We had not expected 
much, so we were neither cast down nor disappointed. We planned to 
remain in the United States for the specified time it took for Frederick 
to become a naturalized citizen. 

We returned to Lynn to find a cable from my sister Grace inform 
ing us that Mother had had a stroke of apoplexy and was asking 
for us continually. The doctor felt that her life depended upon our 
return. Under such conditions we could not refuse. Mother had been 
through so much in her life, she had been magnificently brave. Now 
she was old and sick and needed us. To allow selfish desires or wants 
to influence us was unthinkable. We gave up all plans for Frederick s 
naturalization to hurry back to Jerusalem. After the arrival of our 
cable, informing Mother that we were returning, she rallied remarka 

On our way back to Palestine we passed through Paris. I thought 
it would please Mother if I called on her friend and schoolmate Mme. 
Ribot. M. Ribot was Prime Minister of France at the time. I wrote 
a note, and very soon a special messenger came to the hotel from Gare 
d Orsay with an invitation from Mme. Ribot asking me to call and she 
sent her car and chauffeur. She was still beautiful, as Mother always 
said she was. She had not seen Mother since the sad days after the 
shipwreck, when Mother was brokenhearted over the loss of her chil 
dren and Mme. Ribot had been so very kind to her. She looked at me 
critically, trying to find traces of Mother in my looks, but she was too 
kind to disappoint me. 

She spoke about their schooldays; about the Bible readings and dis 
cussions; she said Mother had given her a knowledge of and a love 
for the Bible which had stayed with her throughout her life. 

We were distressed to see the change in Mother since we had left 
Jerusalem hardly seven months before. 

Although Mother s mind was as clear as ever she was unable to 
walk. Her joy at seeing us, especially the children, was enough reward 
for any sacrifice we might have made. We never regretted our de 
cision, although, as it worked out, it made many more obstacles to 
overcome in our course and difficulties to surmount in the years to 


come. Mother failed from day to day, until on April 17, 1923, the end 
came quietly and peacefully. It was like a candle flickering and finally 
going out. It was strange that during the last days of her life she spoke 

We were determined that the only note sounded at her funeral 
should be one of praise for a useful life, which had been a blessing to 
many. There must be no mourning. There could be no regrets for such 
a life. Letters and telegrams poured in from all over the world. The 
whole of Jerusalem was stirred, from the High Commissioner to the 
lowliest and humblest of the inhabitants. Jerusalem had lost a real 
mother and hundreds attended her funeral. Our friend, Dr. A. C. 
Harte, general secretary of the Y.M.C.A., conducted the funeral serv 
ice, and the son of Father s and Mother s old friends in Chicago, Mr. 
E. W. Blatchford, a man beloved in Jerusalem, read a beautiful prayer. 
I remember these words: 

. . . life is eternal and love is immortal; 
And death is only a horizon; 
And a horizon is nothing, 
Save the limit of our sight! 


IT WAS in the early days of the British occupation that the Italian 
Consul s wife and I went to tea with the family of Aref Pasha ed 
Dajani at his residence on Mount Zion. As we passed my husband s 
office we stopped, and Frederick asked if we would like to see Lord 
Northcliffe, proprietor of England s largest newspaper. We said we 
would, so we waited, and soon Sir Ronald Storrs and Lord Northcliffe 
drove past. Sir Ronald had been showing him the sites of the old city. 
When I got home I found Lord Northcliffe s card. I was disappointed 
to have missed this monarch of journalism. In a short time a telephone 
message from Government House informed me that Lord Northcliffe 
would call on me the next afternoon, so I invited him to tea. I had the 
tea table ready in the library, but to my dismay he said he never took 
tea, and asked for a whisky and soda. I had to confess that I had nei 
ther in the house a bad beginning, I thought. 

Lord Northcliffe was a large, portly man with an unhealthy com 
plexion. He was nervous and spoke jerkily and abruptly. He said 
sternly, "I was here yesterday." "Yes," I replied, "I found your card, 
and I was very sorry to miss you, but you can t guess what I was do 
ing." And I confessed that I had been standing on my tiptoes trying to 
get a glimpse of him. This amused him and put him in a good 
humor. We discussed conditions since the British occupation; he 
was shocked that England was forcing an alien population on the 
Arabs of Palestine. We discussed my husband s ambiguous position, 
and I told Lord Northcliffe about the stand he had taken in the late 
war. I told him that our plan was to go to the United States so that 
Frederick could become a naturalized citizen. He was interested and 
said that in his estimation, because of the assistance Frederick had 
rendered the Allied cause during the war, he should be created an 
American citizen by a special act of Congress. It was then that he gave 
us a letter to Mr. Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State, asking 
him to assist us in this matter. 

When Lord Northcliffe was due to arrive, Jerusalem was excited 
because of the expose in the London Daily News of the Protocols of 
the Elders of Zion. Its authorship had been considered Jewish and 


the Jews were very angry about it. During the exodus of Russian refu 
gees through Constantinople the manuscript came into the possession 
of Mr. Robert Graves, correspondent for Lord Northcliffe s paper in 
Istanbul. It was a bit of good fortune to come by a scoop of such 
magnitude. It rocked the American and British press with comment. 
Here was proof that the atrocious document, attributed to Jewish 
authorship, was nothing of the sort, but written by a Russian. Of 
course at the time of the disclosure Lord NorthcliflEe had not exposed 
it for any political purpose, but because it was a scoop, to use news 
paper slang, which he had succeeded in getting before his rivals. 

The repercussion to this discovery when Lord Northcliffe s visit 
was made known in Jerusalem was that the Jews announced their in 
tention to erect a triumphal arch to do him honor and the Arabs pro 
claimed that if the Jews put up a triumphal arch, then they would 
organize a counterdemonstration. It was an anxious time for the gov 
ernment, and it was decided that Lord Northcliffe had better leave 
the train bringing him from Egypt at Lydda, so that his entrance could 
be kept secret. A captain went to meet Lord Northcliffe accompanied 
by two armored cars, one of which was disabled on the way. 

Lord Northcliffe told me that at first he had been flattered because 
the Palestine Government thought him important enough to send two 
armored cars to escort him to Jerusalem. He chuckled and added, "I 
thought that was the way I ought to be treated." Then, he reflected, 
he was not quite so sure, so he asked the captain why an armored car 
had been sent to meet him. "Well, you see, sir," said the captain, "on 
account of your expose of the origin of the Protocols of the Elders of 
Zion, the Jews were going to put up a triumphal arch to welcome you 
and the Arabs threatened a counterdemonstration." 

"So that s it," said Lord Northcliffe. "I shall let them know I have no 
favorites and I don t approve of pursuing a policy in Palestine which 
passes on to the British taxpayer the cost of an armored car or two 
to protect a person in Palestine." And he did let them know. 

Sir Ronald Storrs had Lord Northcliffe address one of his pro- 
Jerusalem meetings. Sir Ronald had succeeded in collecting a com 
pletely representative committee of Jerusalem residents to improve the 
city a creditable accomplishment. With the invited guests at this 
special meeting, it comprised a cross-section of Jerusalem s inhab 
itants. This was the only speech Lord Northcliffe made in Jerusalem. 

Ever since I had been in charge of the Moslem Girls School I had 
been fighting some of the worst elements in Moslem domestic life, 
and better to be able to advise the girls under my care I had studied 
the Moslem Sharia (religious) law which governed marriage, divorce, 
age of consent, and inheritance. In many countries the customs go 


ahead of the laws, but the Moslem customs in Palestine were infi 
nitely worse than the law. The Sharia law is elastic enough for them to 
get around it. They have been practicing evasion for centuries exactly 
in the same manner as the Orthodox Jews have evaded the Mosaic law. 
The law says that the girl must be of an age to be capable of marriage 
and childbearing, which would mean after puberty. But to get around 
this they sometimes take an older sister before the cadi (religious 
judge) in her outer garment, and with her face covered by a veil, he 
is not able to judge her age. He sees a developed figure and gives the 
necessary document authorizing the consummation of the nuptial re 

During my work at the Moslem Girls School I often saw women 
come on visiting day and choose a bride from among the girls for a 
son or relative and sometimes even select a second wife for their own 
husbands. A woman s argument was that since it had to be, she had 
better choose the second wife herself. But the alarming thing was that 
these were mere children who would be taken out of school to be mar 
ried, frequently to older men. 

I was so incensed With the injustice of this evil custom that I made 
it my special duty to fight child marriage. I talked to mothers about 
it, and I studied the Sharia law to be able to enlighten the girls them 
selves and let them know that they had a right to object. They could 
not be married without their consent being given, and I tried to en 
courage them to protest and object to being taken out of school to be 
married. Finally, after hearing about several terrible cases of child 
marriage with dire consequences to the girl, I decided that the Mufti 
must know about these conditions. Perhaps he, who posed as a re 
former, would help raise the age of marriage and consent. I invited 
Hadj Amin al Husseini, Hadj Said es Shawa, with several other mem 
bers of the Moslem Supreme Council to dinner, the invitation being 
for the evening following Lord Northcltffe s talk at the pro-Jerusalem 

After dinner I clenched my teeth, to go through with the ordeal of 
telling these men how their customs worked in actual fact. It was very 
hard for me to do. I had to be explicit, and I had to tell shocking 
details. They listened attentively, but when they spoke it was only to 
ask for more details about Lord Northcliffe s speech. I was flabber 
gasted. I felt all the painful ordeal had been wasted. They gave me 
the impression that they were not interested in the suffering of a few 
girls. But I had misjudged them. To their credit, I found the Mufti and 
his associates had been shocked, and they requested the government to 
make the legal age of marriage and consent nineteen. 

Some time after this the chief justice, Sir Thomas Haycraft, asked 
me to serve on a committee with Colonel George Heron, Director of 


Health; Mr. Humphrey Bowman, Director of Education; Miss Mar 
garet Nixon, Government Senior Welfare Worker; Mrs. Norman 
Bentwich, wife of the Attorney General, and Dr. Helen Kagan, a Jew 
ish lady doctor, to revise the old Ottoman Penal Code of laws cover 
ing women and children. We met frequently during six weeks, and our 
recommendations were all accepted by the Colonial Office. 

Later on, during the tenure of High Commissionership of General 
Sir Arthur Wauchope, the question of the age of consent and marriage 
came up again. Jewish, Moslem, and Eastern Christian churches have 
jurisdiction in matters of marriage, consent, and inheritance, but 
it was hoped that if the civil administration would not sanction 
the completion of marriage until the girl had reached a proper age, 
it would influence the judges of the religious courts. The Moslems 
were willing to make the age nineteen, which was too high. I felt that 
fifteen would be the right age, but I heard that the High Commissioner 
had advised thirteen. 

By good fortune my husband and I were invited to lunch at Govern 
ment House. As Frederick had no official position I rarely had the 
honor of sitting next to His Excellency, but this time I was on Sir 
Arthur Wauchope s left. I was not going to miss the opportunity of 
speaking to him about a matter so close to my heart and for which 
I had worked so hard. In spite of its not being an appropriate subject 
for a luncheon table I plunged in. 

Sir Arthur affirmed his belief that as girls matured so early in Pales 
tine, thirteen was quite old enough. I told him that in the East as soon 
as a child entered upon its thirteenth year, she was considered to be 
thirteen years old, so this actually meant twelve years of age. Even so, 
Sir Arthur thought, because of the hot climate, twelve was old enough. 
I argued against it. I knew because of careful study of the subject. Sir 
Arthur answered, with a good deal of feeling, that he was adamant on 
the subject. I looked up, and, to my utter horror, found that all the 
guests had stopped talking and were listening to Sir Arthur Wauchope 
and me quarreling over the age of consent and the age of marriage. 

I learned later that the discussion had not been so futile as I had 
supposed. Sir Arthur was not adamant. I had been rather afraid of 
him. He was a real soldier and expected his orders to be executed 
without comment, but after this we became very good friends. 

Generally, when I was invited to Government House, I was seated 
next to some Arab who could not speak English, because I spoke 
Arabic. One time I was placed beside the old cadi. After the evacu 
ation of the Turks, the British had appointed Hadj Ahmed al Uri to 
that post. Heretofore the cadi had been a fellah from Bait Ur el Foka 
or Upper Beth Horan of the Old Testament. After the soup, the next 
course was mayonnaise fish. It looked attractive in the platters going 


round the table, and I noticed the cadi watching it go from one person 
to another, perhaps wondering if there would be enough left for him. 
Mayonnaise is an acquired taste to the natives. When, at last, the plat 
ter came to Hadj Ahmed, he helped himself bountifully. After the first 
mouthful, he nudged my elbow. "Tell me," he said in a stage whisper, 
"what I shall do with what I have in my mouth?" I always enjoyed 
relating bits of fun to Their Excellencies, and I kept this as a bon 
mot to tell them later on. "And what did you tell the cadi?" asked 
Sir Herbert. "She doesn t need to tell," said Lady Samuel. "I found 
out what happened later on." 

One day she called me on the telephone to say that Mrs. Holman 
Hunt was visiting at Government House. She was now more than 
eighty and had returned to Palestine to erect a memorial to her famous 
artist husband who had done so much of his work there. 

Her selection of a memorial was a stone seat to be placed over 
looking one of Holman Hunt s favorite views. Major Ernest Rich 
mond, then Director of Antiquities, designed the stone seat with an 
appropriate inscription, and it was placed in the property of the Greek 
Orthodox Monastery of Saint Elias, halfway to Bethlehem. It over 
looked the shepherds fields and Bethlehem and the artificial mound 
called Frank Mountain, where Herod the Great was buried. 

Lady Samuel said that Mrs. Holman Hunt was anxious to walk 
through the Via Dolorosa to the Holy Sepulcher and asked if I would 
accompany her. I was very pleased to do so, but on second thought 
I wondered if I was sufficiently informed about the traditional sites to 
be a good exponent, so I asked Jacob to go with us. There was not 
much either traditional or authentic about the Holy City that my foster 
brother did not know. It was arranged that we would meet Mrs. Hunt 
at Saint Stephen s Gate. This is the eastern gate of the old city and 
very likely where the Biblical Sheep Gate was situated, for just inside 
the gate, in the property belonging to the White Fathers, is the ancient 
and historical Pool of Bethesda. Jacob showed Mrs. Hunt the pool 
with its unusual five porches. In reality it is two pools, one for humans 
and the other for animals with a dividing or fifth porch. 

We came out from the Ecce Homo Convent where the "pavement" 
is shown upon which Pilate stood when he showed Jesus to the Jews. 
It is one of the most impressive spots in Jerusalem. I walked next to 
Mrs. Hunt. I suppose she was too old to sustain interest in the present 
for long; her mind went back to the most glorious moment in her 
life. That was a ball at which she had danced with King Edward VII, 
then Prince of Wales. She started describing her dress. She explained 
that they wore stays in those days. "Mine were very tight," she said. 

By this time we had reached the station, and I stopped her story 
to draw her attention to it. 


"Oh yes," she said, giving the inscription a sideways glance, but 
continued her story "and we wore hoopskirts in those days. My skirt 

was made from yards and yards of material " We were climbing the 

steep, narrow street and had got to the station where Saint Veronica 
is supposed to have put a handkerchief over the Lord s face, leaving 
the impress on it. I looked around for Jacob to tell Mrs. Holman Hunt 
the story, but Jacob was nowhere to be seen. He was not interested 
in the taffeta dress or the ball or her dancing with the Prince of Wales, 
and had simply evaporated. I gave up interrupting the dear old lady 
telling her story. His Royal Highness had actually asked her to dance 
with him. 

She was too tired to see much of the Holy Sepulcher, but she was 
profuse in her thanks of our "most inspiring walk." 

Edwin Samuel, Sir Herbert and Lady Samuel s eldest son, was 
married to a young girl from Tel Aviv while they were at Government 
House. The American Colony made the wedding cake. The frosting 
was put on very thickly and then carved into a landscape by one of our 
Colony artists. 

Sir Herbert and Lady Samuel spent part of one summer at the mis 
sion home at Saf ed. Their daughter Nancy and our Anna Grace were 
friends, and they asked Anna Grace to spend part of the summer with 
them in Safed. I was invited to go up for the week end and bring Anna 
Grace home. There was a macadam road as far as one of the old 
Rothschild colonies, and from there we rode horseback to Safed. It 
was a delightful change, and Anna Grace thoroughly enjoyed it. 
We amused the party by frequently using Americanisms in manner or 
speech. In the afternoons we played badminton, as there was no ten 
nis court. One afternoon Philip Samuel came to tea in new trousers 
and Anna Grace remarked, "You re very fine, Philip, you have on 
new pants." Philip was shocked and said, "How do you know?" To the 
English pants are "undies." 

Sir Herbert accompanied us as far as the Lazarist guest house at 
Tabgha on the shores of the Sea of Galilee where we had lunch. Father 
Tapper, the Superior, was a personality known throughout Palestine. 
After bidding Sir Herbert Samuel and the young people good-by, we 
stayed on for a bit at Tabgha with the English governor and his wife. 
We made several trips to Capernaum and other places around the lake 
so sacred in memory. 

One day one of the ladies said, "I m so sorry my gramophone is out 
of order or else we could take it out in the lake. There will be beautiful 
moonlight this evening-" I was thankful indeed that the gramophone 
was out of order. But I realized that one has to live a normal life even 
if it happens to be a sacred spot. 


Lord Balfour and Field Marshal Lord and Lady Allenby arrived 
with many representatives of European and American universities 
for the opening of the Hebrew University. A temporary platform was 
erected in front of a natural amphitheater in the grounds of the He 
brew University, so familiar to us as the home of Sir John and Lady 
Gray Hill. Concrete steps had hurriedly been placed, following the 
natural curve of the mountain. The acoustics were perfect. The 
speeches were easily heard. I saw Lord Balfour, who was profoundly 
moved, with tears running down his face, deliver his oration. Nebo 
was at his back, where Moses viewed the Promised Land; before him 
stood the Hebrew University, the emblem of Israel s new life. 

When Lord Balfour followed the road through Jerusalem to the 
Mount of Olives to be entertained by the High Commissioner at Gov 
ernment House, he did not notice the Arab residences and places of 
business draped in black with black flags flying and women giving the 
death cry. He would not have understood what it meant even if he had 
heard the shrill cry, for he was surrounded by Zionists who did not en 
lighten him. We heard it, and pondered what the future might hold for 


WHEN the Samuels left Palestine our next High Commissioner 
was Lord Plumer. Field Marshal Lord and Lady Plumer were greatly 
beloved. He was a short man, dignified and Very much the soldier; 
she, typically the English Victorian grande dame, but an absolute dear. 
She was so sure of her position that she could unbend and be gracious 
without condescension. She wore her hat on the top of her head like 
Queen Mary when everyone else was wearing hats which fitted one s 
head like a helmet She wore strings and strings of irregular pearls. 

During the four years of Lord Plumer s administration there was 
peace in Palestine. I remember hearing about the way in which he 
answered the Mufti when Had] Amin remarked that if England con 
tinued the policy of favoring Zionism he could not be responsible for 
the safety of Palestine. 

Lord Plumer retorted, "You responsible? Who asked you to be re 
sponsible for the peace of this place? I am!" And he answered the 
Zionist Commission in the same brisk manner. 

The Druses were kicking up trouble for the French, and we heard 
Lord Plumer had asked the director of Public Works Department 
how long it would take to complete a road past Lake Huleh to the 
frontier. The answer was that it would take about six months. The 
astonished director was told that a steamer left in a week s time for 
England, and that he could take it. The road was finished in as many 

Frederick and I went over the new road in our Ford car when it was 
completed. It took us through a part of the country I had never seen 
before, past the Litani River with the imposing Crusader Castle tow 
ering on the heights above. 

A garden club was started in Jerusalem but was given the grandiose 
name of Horticultural Society. It did much to encourage gardening, 
which, because of the lack of water, had been neglected. Flower shows 
were given in spring and summer and displayed a creditable advance 
in market gardening of vegetables, besides flowers. 

One year the spring flower show was held at the Sports Club, and 
ny brother-in-law was exhibiting some of the twenty or more iris 


which grow wild in Palestine and Trans-Jordan, many of which he 
had discovered himself. John was exceedingly proud of this iris, and 
some received prizes. 

However, at that special flower show Lady Plumer took most of the 
prizes. A French member, who spoke little English, wanted to con 
gratulate her. He said something to Lady Plumer and she turned 
abruptly away, gasping: "Oh! Oh! Oh!" 

The poor Frenchman was distressed. He came to John, gesticulating 
as only Frenchmen can. 

"Monsieur Whiting, what have I say to Mme. Lady Plumer that she 
look red and say, Oh, Oh, Oh?" 

"Well, what did you say?" asked John. 

"Mme. Her Ladyship took the mos of the prizes, and so I natural- 
mont wished to felicitate her. You know the English say, You are a 
lucky dog. I could not say, You are a lucky dog to Mme. Lady 
Plumer, so I say, Madame, allow me to present my felicitations, you 
are a lucky b Have I say something very bad?" 

We advised the poor bewildered man not to apologize. If he had 
made such a mistake in offering his congratulations, what might he 
not say in apology! 

The Plumers were in England on leave in 1927 when we experi 
enced a severe earthquake in southern Palestine. The course of the 
shocks was irregular and the damage just as irregular. The quake 
seemed to jump from place to place. Nablus and Lydda were badly 
damaged, whereas Ramleh, only a few miles away, suffered little. 
Jerusalem felt the shocks, but the Scopus Ridge and the Mount of 
Olives overlooking the rift of the Jordan Valley were badly shaken. 

Government House was so badly damaged that the Plumers could 
not go back there to live. 

The Mandatory Government was paying rent to the Germans for the 
use of their property, and after the earthquake there was a long and 
hot controversy about which country was to repair the damage. It 
went to the World Court at The Hague, and because "Acts of God" 
were not included in the contract, the court ruled that Britain would 
have to pay for the repairs. 

One of the queer jumps the course of the earthquake took was 
to deal gently with Bethany, whereas in Abu Dis, half a mile away, 
there was not a sound, house left. Abu Dis depended upon rain-water 
cisterns for its water supply. Every cistern was cracked and the water 
drained out. 

My husband and I toured the damaged cities and villages. We found 
Abu Dis sadly in need of help. Dysentery and enteric fever were preva 
lent; nearly everyone was suffering from sore eyes caused by the high 
wind which raised dust from the crumbling houses. Water was non- 


existent and had to be carried for several miles from the Apostles 
Fountain in a deep defile, where we, as children, had witnessed the 
fight between two opposing Bedouin parties. 

We opened a clinic at Abu Dis, which continued for several months. 
The sheik gave us a partially damaged room in his house and we went 
out every day from Jerusalem in our Ford with nurse and doctor. The 
sheik at this time was the grandson of the sheik who had accompanied 
Mrs. Buckingham and her daughter Rose on their trip to Jericho, the 
River Jordan, and the Dead Sea, and who had exhibited Arab horse 
manship by grabbing Rose and staging a feigned kidnaping. 

Dr. Bailey Willis, professor of geology at Stanford University, Cali 
fornia, and famed as "Earthquake Willis," because he hunted earth 
quakes in every corner of the globe, had known Palestine was due for 
a quake and hastened to be in "on the kill." He missed our quake by 
a few hours. He had reached Cairo when the tremors shook Palestine. 

He stopped with us in Jerusalem. His stories of the earthquakes 
he had experienced were so instructive and interesting that we asked 
him to give a lecture on the subject in the American Colony hostel, 
and among others we invited the acting High Commissioner, Colonel, 
later Sir, John Symes. 

Dr. Willis had been awarded many of the world s highest honors 
for his research in seismology, but his great interest was in building to 
resist earthquake damage, and many of his discoveries at Stanford 
University had been made requirements in California building codes. 

His lecture at the American Colony revolutionized building in the 
Holy Land. He was requested to put it into writing by the Palestine 
Administration. From that time on the demand was for reinforced 
concrete with a facing of stone. The outside held the same appearance, 
whereas the old-fashioned mode of walls several feet thick built of 
double rows of large cut stones filled in with lime plaster and rubble 
was abandoned. Picturesque domed roofs were also given up. Differ 
ent heights in the same building were advised to be separate from the 
foundation up, and connected only superficially on the outside, so that 
each height could sway in an earthquake at its own angle. This simple 
but as yet uncomprehended truth was made manifest to us by the two 
towers on the Mount of Olives. The tower supposed to be designed by 
Kaiser Wilhelm and part of the Augusta Victoria Stiftung were so 
badly injured that they had to be taken down and rebuilt by the Man 
datory Government, whereas the Russian tower, which was higher, but 
stood alone, and was known to be cracked previous to the earthquake, 
survived the shock with little damage done. 

Dr. Bailey Willis s visit so influenced my family that our daughter 
Tanetta decided to major in geology in her college course. 

Sir Ronald and Lady Storrs had invited me to join their party on a 


trip to Petra, that wonderful rock city of the dead. All my life I had 
heard about the glories of Petra and longed to go there. My husband 
had taken the trip several times, but I usually had had a baby to care 
for and had remained at home. John Whiting wrote an article about 
Petra for the National Geographic Magazine with colored pictures 
showing the waves of mauve, purple, rose, and deep red coloring in 
the sandstone. I had often heard Jacob lecture on Petra, and he was 
exuberant in his description. I thought I might be disappointed when 
I actually saw it, but actually I was to feel that not half had been told. 

The company consisted besides Sir Ronald and Lady Storrs and 
Lady Storrs s daughter Daisy Clewes, of Mr. Benton Fletcher, an artist, 
Mrs. Stewart Erskine, a writer, the wife of the Director General of the 
Suez Canal in Egypt, and Peak Pasha and his mother Mrs. Peak. The 
arrangements for the trip were made by Peak Pasha, who was com 
mander of the Arab Legion, sp we were well looked after. 

We approached the enchanted city through the narrow defile a mile 
and a quarter in length, with sides towering above at one hundred to 
one hundred and sixty feet in height. As we turned in the winding 
gorge there came to view the Khazneh, or, as the Arabs call it, the 
"Treasury" of Pharaoh. This temple of rose-pink and red sandstone, 
with the slanting afternoon rays of the setting sun shining on it and 
intensifying the natural coloring and beauty, is a sight worth many 
miles of travel. It is dated in the second century A.D., or earlier. An 
urn-shaped ornament, ninety feet high, adorns the top, and is dented 
with bullets shot from Bedouin marksmen who have tried to bring it 
down and reveal its hidden treasure. 

From the place of sacrifice on one of the highest hills, which is the 
relic of earliest date in Petra, we got a magnificent view of the Araba 
and Mount Hor, the reputed tomb of Aaron. 

We slept in rock-hewn tombs, putting up oleander branches to form 
screens, and used a large natural cave for our dining room. We did 
not stay long in our rock dwellings, for the days were spent in climbing 
the steep mountains and visiting the different monuments, each of 
which seem to be placed on the top of a different and very steep cliff. 

One afternoon in Petra I saw a Bedouin woman and a child with 
a smaller boy on a donkey standing watching me from a distance. She 
called out to me, "Ana minkum, Ana minkum [I belong to you, or, I 
am one of you]." I beckoned her to come to where I was. She told 
me she was a Christian from Asia Minor, who, during World War I, 
was kidnaped and married to a Mohammedan. Her husband was un 
kind to her, and finally she had run away with her two sons. She was 
heading for one of the Christian villages in Trans-Jordan, where she 
hoped to get protection. 

I was not in any position to help, except with a little money, and 


I have often wondered what happened to that poor woman in that 
deserted city. I hope she found refuge among the Christian Trans- 
Jordan population. 

Such cases as hers had been cared for at Aleppo by Miss Kerin 
Yappe, financed by the League of Nations. For years Miss Yappe had 
been repatriating Christian girls who had been kidnaped by Moslem 
Turks and Arabs and put into their harems, but when I visited Aleppo 
in the 1920s the League of Nations had decided to discontinue the 
work, as many years had passed since the kidnapings, and the ad 
vanced age of the offspring of these marriages caused complications. 
Miss Yappe took me on an interesting visit to the numerous industries 
she was conducting to support these women. She told me that the 
Armenian and Assyrian men married them without imputing any 
blame or disgrace to their lives, because they had been forcibly taken, 
and at great risk had returned. She told me that she had found homes 
for about ten thousand such women. 

As we stood saying good-by on Miss Yappe s doorstep a woman 
with a child about ten or eleven years old dropped at her feet and tried 
to kiss them. The woman, who was dressed like a Bedouin, was shaken 
with sobs. She said she had traveled for more than a month on foot 
to get to Aleppo and to Miss Yappe, which, to her, meant salvation. 

Miss Yappe was in a quandary, because the Committee of the 
League of Nations connected with this problem had decided to shut 
down this special repatriation work. The poor woman in question was 
not sent back to a repugnant life, but I believe she was among the last 
to be rescued. The woman I had met at Petra was just such a case. 

When King Husein of Arabia was deposed by the Wahabi hosts 
marching on the Hejaz, he took refuge with his son, the Emir Abdullah 
of Trans-Jordan. I think it was in the spring of 1925 that the American 
Consul and Mrs. Heizer asked Frederick and me to accompany them 
on a visit to the King at the Emir s winter camp at Shunet Nimrin 
in the Jordan Valley. It was a beautiful warm day. The sky was blue 
and visibility so clear that one mistook distances . The iridescent color 
ing in the lights and shadows of the mountains of Moab was glorious. 
Yellow chrysanthemums and white and yellow mustard grow to enor 
mous size in this semi-tropical Jordan Valley, and they flourished in 
profusion on each side of the road. In the gardens near Jericho orange 
blossoms emitted an exotic perfume. Wild narcissus were blossoming 
among the irrigated wheat and barley fields. 

The camp was situated in a protected wadi, forming a slightly 
elevated semicircle into the mountains. After we entered the beautiful 
reception tent lined with brocade, and seated ourselves on gilt- ana 
satin-upholstered chairs, the deposed King entered, majestic even in 


was Wardi, came from Jerusalem. She had married a day laborer in 
Ramleh, about thirty miles northwest on the Jaffa-Jerusalem road..Ramleh 
is the ancient Aramathea, the home of Joseph who provided his rock- 
hewn tomb to place the crucified Jesus in. Wardi was ill, and her mother 
brought her, with the baby and two other children, to Jerusalem, where 
she could get better and free hospitalization. The mother was in the French 
hospital for a long time and finally died. When the grandmother heard 
that her daughter had died, it brought on a heart attack and she died too. 
Both women were buried by the city in the proverbial "Potter s field." 
The father could not be traced. The three children were left alone in the 
grandmother s room with nothing to eat. After three days they were found 
in this terrible condition. The baby boy had cried so hard that his navel 
was protruding two inches. He was a skeleton with an enlarged abdomen. 
We took the baby into our Nursing Home and I appealed to the Govern 
ment Office for "Children and Young Persons in Need of Protection," 
but I was confronted by Rule A.B.C., etc., none of which fit my case. 
The children were taken by the American Colony and cared for until 
homes were found for them. That is why I am thankful for the flexibility of 
our organization. 

In twenty-one years of work there has been a remarkable change 
in the attitude of these women. We are now dealing with their grand 
children, so to speak. 

Always superstitious, the Moslem mother is dreadfully afraid of 
the evil eye. For years there was a continual struggle to persuade the 
mothers to undress their babies for weighing in the presence of other 
women because of their fear that the "eye of envy" would harm them. 
AU kinds of ridiculous methods and charms were used to ward off its 
dangers. From one child s cap I removed two long, sharp needles. 
They were to pierce the evil eye. Blue glass heads, bits of alum, garlic, 
and a fox s tooth are frequently attached to the babies garments. 
Many of these are old, handed down from mother to daughter. We say 
when we are hoarse that we have a "frog in our throat" and imagine 
it is because we are croaking like a frog. There must be an earlier for 
gotten tradition attached, because the Arabs tie a little silver or metal 
*frog to a baby s sore throat and believe it will help it get well. In 
Palestine one should never speak about a child without invoking the 
name of God, "Mashalla," which precedes any mention of it, especially 
if it is in praise. 

The last record I have there were about 20,000 visits during the 
year of mothers bringing their babies for advice and medical aid. Home 
visiting by the nurse was an important part of the work, and we did 
as much of this as our funds allowed. Dr. Helen Kagan, a Jewish 
lady doctor, worked faithfully, from the start of the Home, for twenty- 
three years. When the work grew, we added an Arab graduate from 
the American University of Beirut and they worked amicably to- 


Public Health Department doctor asked where I had got my training, 
and I had to confess that I had only the training which a lifetime of 
nursing experience gave. I was promptly but kindly dismissed. 

The important thing now was to make something permanent of all 
the numerous activities we had been carrying on which had been 
interrupted by World War I. Now that the British Mandate governed 
Palestine, much work which we had been doing would be taken care 
of by the Public Health Department. However, there seemed a great 
deal to do; the Turks had left much to be desired; the British Mandate 
had a colossal job on its hands. They needed help, but what should 
that be? Certainly not something they, in their official capacity, could 
do better than we. 

It must be something they would or could not do, and that work, 
we decided, could be done by the women of Jerusalem. 

I have spoken several times about the evil custom of child marriage, 
and although it was neither as prevalent nor consummated at so early 
an age as in some other Moslem countries, it was bad enough. At the 
root of this evil custom is an economic problem. We felt here was a 
chance to remedy this condition by making the small girls an asset to 
the family instead of a liability. 

I have already mentioned the starting of the Industrial School dur 
ing the early years of the war. Now we enlarged the school and added 
plain sewing and dressmaking classes. Instruction was given in the 
three R s in Arabic, and English was taught. Needle lace and embroi 
dery, using traditional patterns characteristic to the country, were de 
veloped. Later we added knitting, crocheting, and weaving. 

In a few years our Industrial School was doing excellent work. We 
found that in England an industrial school is a school of correction, 
so we changed the name to the "School of Handicrafts and Dressmak 
ing. * 

The members from the Colony occupied in teaching at this school 
received no remuneration, but we had to engage helpers, and that 
necessitated the payment of salaries. Many of the beautiful table 
cloths, tea cloths, dinner and luncheon sets, guest towels, handker 
chiefs, babies garments, and many other useful articles were sold at 
an annual bazaar. During the year ladies of many nationalities and 
creeds met at the American Colony and made articles which added 
considerably to the value of the bazaar. It became one of the social 
events of Jerusalem at Christmastime. 

The work grew simply because the need was so obvious that it 
could not be ignored. 

On Christmas Eve, 1925, we had given the girls of the School of 
Handicrafts and Dressmaking a jolly tea party, with plenty of cake, 
candy, and oranges, and a Christmas tree and presents followed by 


games. It was over, and the girls had gone off in a happy mood. I 
was joining my husband and the children to sing carols on the shep 
herds fields near Bethlehem. It was the first time this had been done. 
It happened to be full moon and the weather, which is often wet and 
cold at Christmastime, was pleasant. 

The idea had been that of our dear friend Dr. A. C. Harte of the 
Y.M.C.A. We wondered why we had never thought of doing it. Im 
agine the thrill it gave one to be singing carols on the shepherds 
fields, with the stars brilliant overhead as they are in that dry climate, 
and looking up to Bethlehem in the distance and seeing the lights 
flickering in that hallowed place! 

I had been asked to lead the singing, and accepted with pleasure. 
As I was hurrying down the hill leading from the school, I met a 
woman coming up. She was being helped on one side by a man and 
on the other by an elderly woman. This woman was carrying a bundle 
of filthy rags. I saw at once that the woman who was being helped 
was very sick. I stopped and asked them where they were going. 

The man answered "Allah knows!" 

I peeked into the bundle and found it contained a wee baby only 
a few days old. 

I said, "Your wife is very sick." 

"I know it," he replied. "I brought her for six hours on donkeyback 
to the hospital only to find it closed to outpatients because they said 
you had a feast today." 

I was greatly touched. I thought as I stood beside the mother and 
child that I was rushing off to sing carrols in the shepherds fields to 
commemorate the birth of a babe who was born in a stable and placed 
in a manger because there was no room in the inn, and here before me 
stood a rustic Madonna and babe, and, metaphorically speaking, no 
room for them in the inn. 

A crowd gathered. I asked a woman I knew if the sick woman 
could rest in her house, which was near the place where we were 
standing, while I went to the hospital and got a stretcher. I was sure 
I could get her in to Government Hospital because I happened to be 
on the ladies* committee. We were promoting the training of Arab 
girls as nurses and to give maternity assistance to the Arab women. 
I telephoned my husband and told him what I was doing. I asked him 
to take the children to Bethlehem and to explain to Dr. Harte why I 
had failed to appear to lead the singing. 

I found that what the man said was quite true: the hospital was 
closed to outpatients. Many of the British nurses w^re joining our 
party to sing carols, but I succeeded in getting a stretcher and two 
porters to carry the sick woman to the hospital. I remained and helped 
to get her comfortably settled in bed and the baby bathed and fed. 


Christmas morning dawned bright with sunshine. The birds were 
singing as though spring had really come. With six children in our 
home, the early Christmas-morning excitement was in full swing. 
I must say the sick woman and her baby had slipped from my memory, 
when I happened to glance from a window overlooking our front gate, 
and there stood the man with his four-days-old baby in his arms. I 
went to him. He told me that his wife had died in the night. 

He begged the American Colony to take his son. He said, "If I take 
my baby boy to my cave home he will die." 

I knew it was only too true. My husband reminded me that I had no 
money to meet such a burden. But how could I refuse after last night s 
experience? Certainly these poor people had come up the hill, trusting 
that Allah would help them, and Allah must not fail them. 

We took the baby; we named him Noel. A room in the School of 
Handicrafts and Dressmaking was arranged as a nursery and a trained 
nurse engaged. In less than a week two more babies were added to 
the fold. It soon became apparent how much needed just such a home 
was, and the School of Handicrafts was moved to other premises to 
make room. In this way the Baby Home was born. 

About this time I wrote to Colonel as I liked to call Dr. John 
H. Finley, asking his advice about my coming to the United States to 
organize a committee to collect funds to help carry on our work. I 
received an encouraging answer. 

I had met Mrs. Frederick W. Longfellow in Jerusalem. She was 
making a round-the-world tour with her son and daughter. They 
stopped at the American Colony hostel and she became interested. 
Dr. Finley became chairman of a small committee of personal friends 
and continued so until his death. Mrs. Longfellow assumed the re 
sponsibility of treasurer, which office she has ably occupied ever 
since. That the work has grown in scope and usefulness is owing to 
this faithful committee, which, for twenty-three ydars, has continued 
to send to us in Jerusalem the collected remittances from our many 
friends and supporters all over the United States. It has meant much 
labor for Mrs. Longfellow, who has done the work as secretary as weH 
as treasurer, and who faithfully has acknowledged each donation. The 
majority of the donations were in small amounts and necessitated a 
good deal of writing. 

The committee in New York has changed with the years. At present 
Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick is president, Mrs. John H. Finley and 
Mrs. Harold Hatch are vice-presidents. Mrs. F. W. Longfellow is 
treasurer. Others on the committee are Mrs. Harry Emerson Fosdick, 
Mrs. Fielding L. Taylor, Mrs. Kingsbury Curtis, Mr. Harold Hatch, 
Miss Sarah Lyon, Mr. Robert FMey, and Mr. Lowell Thomas. There 
is a finance committee consisting of Mr. Harold Hatch, Mr. Robert 


Finley with the president and treasurer, who take care of all money, 
especially that given for the endowment fund and for special purposes. 

The Home has been enlarged and its function changed. When 
started, the Baby Home resembled an orphanage, and after keeping 
the babies for years and making them accustomed to cleanliness and 
regular habits, it was tragic to give these children back to their parents 
or relatives to live in the hovels from which we had rescued them. One 
parent or another relation was sure to claim them, and we had no 
right or authority to keep them. When the Home was enlarged through 
the generosity of a group of our friends in Indianapolis, Indiana, it 
was decided to turn it into a nursing home or baby hospital. An indis 
putable fact is that the babies are a nuisance in a general hospital and 
are hard to get admitted. They cry, and they disturb the other patients. 
The mothers are no less irritating, with their ignorance of the elements 
of hygiene and medical care, and they interfere with the hospital re 
gime. All these contingencies were taken into consideration and met, 
and they ceased to be bothersome. As a nursing home or hospital it 
has served a larger number and wider area. 

After having rented, for over thirty years, the house on the city wall 
of the old city where Father and Mother and their friends started the 
American Colony in 1881 it was bought through the generosity of 
Mrs. W. D. Cornish, Mrs. E. K. Warren, Mrs. John H. Finley, and 
others. We first named it the Anna Baby Home in memory of Mother. 
When Mrs. Cornish offered to help to buy the house she said she 
would do so on condition that the name be changed. She did not 
specify what the change would be, and I fancied that she might like 
hier own name perpetuated. I asked for time to consider and consult 
the other members of the Jerusalem committee. I wanted so much 
to create a memorial to Mother in the Baby Home, but as I thought 
over the problem I felt Mother would say, if she were living, what 
does a name matter? It is the work that matters. 

Strengthened by this resolution, in which the other members of the 
Colony concurred, I went with my answer to Mrs. Cornish. Her wish 
was that it should be called the Anna Spafford Baby Home! She said, 
"There are many Annas, but only one Anna Spafford." 

Noel, our Christmas baby, who was responsible for its founding, 
is now twenty-two years old. He looks very handsome in his uniform, 
for Noel is a trooper in the Trans- Jordan Frontier Force. Colonel 
Montgomery said Noel was above the average and took responsibility 


DURING our long sojourn in Palestine we continued to follow the 
work of archaeologists and excavators with interest. One of the com 
pensations for living so far from our homeland has been meeting the 
professors and their wives who were members of archaeological mis 
sions and visiting their excavations. A number of these learned men 
stopped at the American Colony hostel and naturally our conversation 
was flavored with archaeology. Some of us took it up in an amateurish 
manner, while other members of the Colony, such as John Whiting 
and Jacob, gave much time and study to it. 

When our eldest son, Horatio, finished his college course at Colum 
bia, he joined the staff of Chicago House at Luxor, where Dr. 
Breasted directed the excavations for the Oriental Institute of the 
University of Chicago, While there Horatio studied law, and in the 
four months holiday during the intense heat of the Upper Nile Valley, 
he went to London and joined Greys Inn. 

During his later years Sir Flinders Petrie lived in Jerusalem, and 
we often met Sir Flinders and Lady Petrie. Sir Flinders, a pioneer 
excavator, is responsible for lifting archaeological work from a hit- 
and-miss guesswork to scientific level, and by means of the variety of 
potsherds found at different levels he set up a chronological order. 

Frederick and I visited Dr. George A. Reisner and Dr. Clarence S. 
Fisher at their diggings in Samaria when the discovery of the magnif 
icent temple built by Herod the Great was made. Under this temple 
the palaces of the Israelite kings were later unearthed by Dr. J. W. 
Crowfoot and a large number of carved ivories were found, presumably 
from Ahab s "Ivory House." (I Kings 22:39.) The Bible story in I 
Kings 22:39 was made to live when the pool where presumably 
Ahab s chariot was washed after bringing his body from Ramoth- 
Gilead was discovered at the same time. Many years later Frederick 
and I visited Dr. Reisner on Pyramid Hill near the Great Pyramids of 
Gezer. He was then totally blind and was dictating his memoirs to his 

In March of 1929 Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller and their son 


David visited Jerusalem with Dr. Breasted, the great Egyptologist, and 
they stopped at. the American Colony. Mr. Rockefeller had offered 
the Egyptian Government several million dollars to build a suitable 
museum to preserve the precious antiquities when the inundation of 
the Nile made the greater part of Cairo damp. Pressure was brought 
upon the Egyptian authorities over the management and disposition 
of funds, and they rejected Mr. Rockefeller s munificent offer. 

Dr. Breasted influenced Mr. Rockefeller to supply Jerusalem with a 
fitting museum. True, many of the valuable antiquities discovered 
under the Turkish regime were now housed in the museum at Istanbul. 
These objects form a valuable list: the Siloam Inscription; the Temple 
Stone, known to have belonged to the Temple; the bilingual stone 
from Gezer, one of the boundary marks; the Holy Sepulcher inscrip 
tion in Kufic. The "Orpheus Mosaic** found at the Damascus Gate; 
the remains from excavations at Gezer, Bethshean, ancient Jericho, 
and Samaria; the Sarcophagus attributed to have held the remains of 
Alexander the Great and another sarcophagus in Jerusalem holding 
the body of Queen Helena, from the Tombs of the Kings, are now at 
the Louvre. Under the British Mandate, with a Department of Antiq 
uities to safeguard antiquities and retain finds in the land of discovery, 
the gift from Mr. Rockefeller was gladly accepted. 

During their visit we went for a walk. Mrs. Rockefeller and Dr. 
Breasted were ahead and I was with Mr. Rockefeller. We were on 
our way to the old museum temporarily located in an old Arab rented 
house when Mr. Rockefeller asked me an unusual question unusual, 
because so few people could ask such a question. He asked, "Do you 
remember, Mrs. Vester, whether it was one or two million dollars 
I donated toward the Jerusalem museum?" 

Professor and Mrs. John Garstang were our next-door neighbors 
in Jerusalem. Dr. Garstang was director of the British School of 
Archaeology as well as director of the Department of Antiquities in the 
Mandatory Government. His excavations of old Jericho following 
those of German work in 1907-09 were of peculiar interest to Bible 
students. There was evidence of the fall of the Canaanite city described 
in Joshua 6 violent destruction was clear. I stayed for a short time at 
the Garstang camp in Jericho and helped dust and chart some of the 
precious bits of ivory and potsherds found in the debris. 

It was when I went to the Jerusalem railroad station to meet Dr. 
and Mrs. Garstang returning from one of their "leaves * in England 
that I met Lady Astor. lylrs. Garstang called to me above the din of 
porters, hotel representatives, and the general crowd, each trying to 
outdo the other in noi^e. She asked me to come into the car. I shook 
my head, for I felt reticent at pushing my acquaintance on Lady Astor 
in this unceremonious fashion. Lady Astor had heard Mrs. Garstang, 


noticed my reticence, and said, "Yes, Mrs. Vester, I do want to meet 
you." That was the beginning of a pleasant acquaintance. 

Frederick and I with our children happened to be camping at the 
time on the Mount of Olives, and Lord and Lady Astor with two of 
their children took Sunday luncheon with us. The two young people 
returned and spent the night with us in camp. 

Sometime later, when we were in London, my daughter Anna Grace 
and I lunched with Lady Astor at her residence at 4 Saint James s 
Square. That afternoon we were having tea on the terrace with the 
member of Parliament representing the universities of Scotland, and 
Lady Astor asked us to drive to the House of Commons with her in 
her car. Before leaving us at the entrance she invited Anna Grace and 
me to spend the week end with her at Clevedon. As usual in London, 
it rained, so instead of having tea on the terrace overlooking the 
Thames and the beautiful view, we sat in the tearoom. At the next 
table to us was Mr. Walsh, the Labour War Lord, a Welsh miner. I 
was introduced to him, and we had a pleasant conversation. He was 
giving tea to some of his constituents. It was a historic day in the first 
Labour Government. While we were in the House of Commons, Prime 
Minister Ramsay MacDonald was impeached and the Labour Govern 
ment fell. When we got back to Wimbledon, where we were stopping 
with a friend, Lady Astor called me up on the telephone. She ex 
plained that since we had parted, only a few hours since, a political 
crisis had arisen. Instead of going to Clevedon and spending a quiet 
week end, as she had anticipated, she must go to her constituency, 
which was Plymouth. She sent us tickets to see Pavlova dance, a 
never-to-be-forgotten memory, to the Albert Hall to hear the Elijah, 
and to see Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw, which was being 
played in London at that time. 

We followed the election with keen interest. Over the radio we 
listened to Lady Astor s seat in Parliament being contested by a La 
bour candidate. He said Plymouth was a rural constituency and Lady 
Astor knew nothing about farms. "Why should she represent it? I 
should like to ask her," he shouted, "if she knows how many toes a pig 
has?" Quick as a flash Lady Astor retorted, "Take off your boots, 
man, and count *em. 9> 

Among the archaeologists who stopped at the American Colony 
was Dr. and Mrs. Cold and Dr. Elihu and Mrs. Grant. Mr. and Mrs. 
Grant were with us for several seasons while he excavated Beth Shan, 
where a series of Canaanite temples dating from the fourteenth to the 
tenth centuries B.C. were found. The city was probably destroyed by 
David. After the Philistines had killed both Saul and his son Jonathan, 
they put his armor in the house of Ashteroth, and fastened his body to 


the wall. Valuable information was obtained from these excavations. 
It would be quite impossible to mention the numerous expeditions 
conducting excavations in Palestine. However, the one at Tell Beit 
Mirsim, where Dr. Kyle of Xema (now Pittsburg-Xema) Theo 
logical Seminary excavated under the direction of Professor W. F. 
Albright, then director of the American School of Oriental Research, 
now of Johns Hopkins University, had sad consequences for the 
American Colony. Dr. and Mrs. Kyle were stopping at the Colony 
hostel. Other guests were there as well. One was a missionary from 
Kirkuk in Iraq, who was invited to visit the excavations. He asked 
Jacob to accompany him. This was on July 19, 1932. 

The missionary was driving his own car, and they went to Tell 
Beit Mirsim through Hebron and Daharieh. In returning they took the 
longer road, because the missionary wanted to visit the reputed Valley 
of Elah, on the JaffaJerusalem highway, where Goliath was killed by 

It was dark by the time they reached the steep descent from Kastel 
to Kuloniah. The seven hairpin bends on this part of the road were 
called the "seven sisters." There is a short, straight piece of road and 
then comes the last and most dangerous bend. They must have been 
going too fast, for they went over this precipitantly and Jacob was 
killed. The missionary who was driving did not sustain even a scratch, 
nor did the lights of the car go out. 

A passing Arab bus coming from Jaffa, seeing the lights in an un 
usual place, stopped and picked them up. Jacob was taken to Govern 
ment Hospital in Jerusalem. The doctor who examined him told us 
that his death had been instantaneous. 

Through the generosity of a group of Jacob s friends in Indianapolis 
a new wing was added to the Anna Spafford Baby Home in 1936 
and dedicated to his memory. He had always taken an active part on 
the committee of the American Colony Aid Association, and the 
Home was one of its activities. Since Jacob had come to us, a mere 
boy, he had taken a leading part in all Colony affairs and was re 
spected and loved by all. Nothing would have pleased my dear brother 
more than to be coupled in memoriam with his foster parents, Anna 
and Horatio Spafford. 

On the sixteenth of March 1936, which was Mother s birthday, the 
new wing was opened with a key handed by my parents great-grand 
child, and my grandchild, Peter Lind, to the wife of our American 
Consul General, Mrs. George Wadsworth. The dedication service was 
conducted by the Rev. R. S. Calderwood, D.D., F.R.S.E., chaplain of 
the Scottish Memorial Church of Saint Andrews, Jerusalem, and 


Archdeacon C. T. Bridgeman, M.A., S.T.E. of Saint George s Cathe 
dral, Jerusalem. The speakers were Dr. John R, Mott, chairman of the 
International Missionary Council for many years and general secretary 
of the International Committee of the Y.M.C.A., who, fortunately, 
was in Jerusalem at the time; Dr. Judah Magnes, president of the He 
brew University; Colonel (later Sir George) Heron, director of the 
Department of Health for Palestine; Consul General George Wads- 
worth; Mr. Rajai Husseini; and Mr. Shucri Rassas. 

Shucri was the grandson of the man who met my parents in 1881 
as they walked up the hill to take up their life s work, as it proved to 
be, in their new home which was now the Baby Home, and said 
that he would always be their friend. That friendship lasted through 
three generations and still continues. 

Soon after the Baby Home was started we realized that an infant 
welfare center was our most urgent need. A center where mothers 
could get advice about themselves and their babies was opened in 
1927. In the United States, agitation against poorly ventilated and 
overcrowded tenement houses is continual, whereas in the poor quar 
ters of the cities of Palestine overcrowding in the evil-smelling, sunless 
hovels called homes is so much worse that Americans can hardly vis 
ualize such living conditions. 

Many homes are devoid of furniture and a pallet in the corner of 
the room is all the bedding there is. There is no separate kitchen with 
a stove. A petroleum tin turned upside down and improvised into a 
charcoal burner or a native charcoal burner, or sometimes a primus 
stove, is the only means of cooking or heating in winter. Generally 
a copper kettle tinned on the inside is used. These are precious articles 
and are often handed down from one generation to another. 

In the midst of such slums we opened our Infant Welfare Center. 
The women flocked to it. For some years we were able to carry on 
sewing classes for expectant mothers. Portions of milk prepared ac 
cording to the doctor s formula were given the poor ones. 

Our patients were many and varied, and we have kept our rules, 
and regulations elastic enough to meet unusual cases. The following 
is from a letter I sent from Jerusalem to our committee in New York: 

I am grateful that our help can go to the needy without all the rules and 
regulations that hamper so many charitable institutions. They are so 
rigidly regulated for efficiency that the heart is left out. "Jinkses baby"" 
dies while lengthy investigations go on and reports are submitted. I had 
a case in point the other day. A baby boy eighteen months old was brought 
to the Baby Home in a deplorable state of starvation, neglect, and filth; 
he was covered with sores and vermin. The story is a series of calamities 
that overtook the family. It seems the mother of this child, whose name 


was Wardi, came from Jerusalem. She had married a day laborer in 
Ramleh, about thirty miles northwest on the JaffaJerusalem road.. Ramleh 
is the ancient Aramathea, the home of Joseph who provided his rock- 
hewn tomb to place the crucified Jesus in. Wardi was ill, and her mother 
brought her, with the baby and two other children, to Jerusalem, where 
she could get better and free hospitalization. The mother was hi the French 
hospital for a long time and finally died. When the grandmother heard 
that her daughter had died, it brought on a heart attack and she died too. 
Both women were buried by the city in the proverbial "Potter s field." 
The father could not be traced. The three children were left alone in the 
grandmother s room with nothing to eat. After three days they were found 
in this terrible condition. The baby boy had cried so hard that his navel 
was protruding two inches. He was a skeleton with an enlarged abdomen. 
We took the baby into our Nursing Home and I appealed to the Govern 
ment Office for "Children and Young Persons in Need of Protection," 
but I was confronted by Rule A.B.C., etc., none of which fit my case. 
The children were taken by the American Colony and cared for until 
homes were found for them. That is why I am thankful for the flexibility of 
our organization. 

In twenty-one years of work there has been a remarkable change 
in the attitude of these women. We are now dealing with their grand 
children, so to speak. 

Always superstitious, the Moslem mother is dreadfully afraid of 
the evil eye. For years there was a continual struggle to persuade the 
mothers to undress their babies for weighing in the presence of other 
women because of their fear that the "eye of envy" would harm them. 
All kinds of ridiculous methods and charms were used to ward off its 
dangers. From one child s cap I removed two long, sharp needles. 
They were to pierce the evil eye. Blue glass heads, bits of alum, garlic, 
and a fox s tooth are frequently attached to the babies garments. 
Many of these are old, handed down from mother to daughter. We say 
when we are hoarse that we have a "frog in our throat" and imagine 
it is because we are croaking like a frog. There must be an earlier for 
gotten tradition attached, because the Arabs tie a little silver or metal 
frog to a baby s sore throat and believe it will help it get well. In 
Palestine one should never speak about a child without invoking the 
name of God, "Mashalla," which precedes any mention of it, especially 
if it is in praise. 

The last record I have there were about 20,000 visits during the 
year of mothers bringing their babies for advice and medical aid. Home 
visiting by the nurse was an important part of the work, and we did 
m uiach of this as our funds allowed. Dr. Helen Kagan, a Jewish 
lady doctor, worked faithfully, from the start of the Home, for twenty- 
tferee years. When the work grew, we added an Arab graduate from 
tibe American University of Beirut and they worked amicably to- 


gether until the twenty-ninth of November 1947 when Palestine was 

For several years we maintained a village center in Sharaf at. The 
sheik of the village provided us with a room and we used our car to 
to take a nurse and doctor there once a week. We chose this special 
village because it had a shrine to one of the rare female saints, re 
vered by Moslems and Christians alike. Through the pilgrims to the 
shrine the news of our work spread, and we would have several hun 
dred patients waiting on the appointed day. This village work was 
interrupted by World War II. 

For years we had considered opening a playground in the thickly 
populated area near the Baby Home and Infant Welfare Center. A 
plot of ground adjoined our property which was overgrown with cactus 
and a convenient place in which to toss old tins and rubbish. It had a 
bad reputation as well as being the rendezvous of undesirable char 
acters of both sexes, and was a danger spot to have so near the 
Baby Home. 

It was with great satisfaction that we at last gathered funds to rent 
this plot of ground, which we cleared of cactus and rubbish and 
leveled. Swings, a merry-go-round, seesaws, gymnastic poles, a sand 
box, and a basketball field were installed. A hut was built containing 
separate toilets for boys and girls and six shower baths; also a first- 
aid room equipped with the simple but necessary articles in case of 

On the opening day a gaily-colored marquee and chairs were pro 
vided where government officials and friends were entertained. The 
Hon. F. O. Lowden, sometime governor of Illinois, who was visit 
ing Jerusalem at the time, gave the opening address. Other speeches 
were made by Mr. Keith Roach, District Commissioner of Jerusalem, 
Mr. (later Sir Harry) Luke, Chief Secretary of the Government of 
Palestine, and Mr. Humphrey Bowman, Director of Education. 

Ever since then, until interrupted by the civil war, there was 
an average daily attendance of three hundred children. One day was 
set aside especially for girls. In keeping the older boys off the play 
ground the older girls and married women were at liberty to come 
to the playground. Their babies could amuse themselves in the sand 
boxes while the mothers brought their knitting, while the games 
mistress helped with suggestions and instruction. Some of them had 
started as pupils in our School of Handicrafts. 

In his speech on opening day Governor Lowden pointed out the 
benefit such playgrounds were in building up stronger and healthier 
bodies and clearer minds, and added, "Perhaps the greatest feature is 
the contact the children of different nationalities get by playing to 
gether and so coming to understand one another better. TMs is one of 


the main ideas of the League of Nations as a preventive of war. In 
this city, above every other, such a relationship is desirable, and I 
believe that this playground will be a means toward that end." 

As disappointed as we were that the League of Nations was not 
able to prevent World War II, so we have been disappointed in the 
increase of racial bitterness which grew from year to year. 

Sometime after Mother s death Frederick and I had felt that the 
Colony should be organized and have a constitution and bylaws and 
an annually elected council to direct its management. We talked 
about this idea a good deal, and all the members of the Colony seemed 
to be in favor of it. It was difficult to visualize what kind of organi 
zation it should be. The American Colony was unique. It had grown 
from a few people who, in their singleness of heart and pure purpose, 
had banded themselves together for mutual edification in administering 
to the wants of others. Mother had been able to keep the ideals on a 
high level through her rare and unique personality, but we had come 
to the end of an epoch in the life of the Colony. 

About 1928 I made a trip to the United States to visit our children 
in their schools, and while there succeeded in organizing the charitable 
part of our work under the American Colony Charities Association, 
incorporated in New York. On my way back I stopped in England and 
went to Canterbury to consult Sir Anton Bertram. Sir Anton and Lady 
Bertram had been in Jerusalem twice for protracted visits and had 
stayed each time at the American Colony. Sir Anton admired the Col 
ony principles. He was a great jurist; he had been chief justice of 
Ceylon. He gave me the best advice he could on the matter. He told me 
that because we had not one written line or rule in the Colony the 
change would succeed only if all were in accord. But if some dissatis 
fied, ambitous, or selfish person made trouble, he foresaw great oppor 
tunities for troublemakers. He advised me to organize the Colony at 
the first possible moment. 

The following summer I returned to the United States, this time with 
Frederick. This was while Jacob was still living, and we could leave 
the Colony in his charge. A New York friend, Mrs. Fowler, offered us 
her summer home in the Adirondack Mountains so our family could 
be together. With four children in American schools, it was less ex 
pensive to accept this kind offer than to bring the children to Jeru 

Before leaving Jerusalem we held a meeting to discuss the organi 
zation of the Colony. Since so many were to be in the United States, 
my sister and her husband, Frederick and I, as well as our eldest 
daughter Anna Grace, her husband, our son Horatio, and two younger 
members of the Colony who were accompanying us to take summer 


courses at Columbia University, it was considered advisable that we 
should get the best advice about organizing while we were all there. 
On arriving in the United States we consulted friends, who recom 
mended a responsible corporation lawyer. We all met with the lawyer, 
and he was instructed to get a draft of a constitution and laws which we 
would carry back to Jerusalem for the whole Colony to consider. 
Frederick and I with our children then went to the Adirondack Moun 
tains, where we anticipated spending a pleasant summer. 

It was the first time in my life I had been part of the woods. I loved 
the woodsy smell, the soft, mossy, and narrow paths cut through the 
trees, and the wild flowers which were strange to me. The American 
buttercups are graceful, as compared to our Palestinian buttercups, 
which have thick, stiff stems. There were two lakes in Mrs. Fowler s 
property, with trout in them. 

Never had such an opportunity for recreation come into our lives 
before. We swam and rowed and paddled in canoes. In the afternoons 
we played tennis on the beautiful court. We broiled fish and sausages 
and had our supper in the clearing, especially equipped for picnics. We 
trekked to places of interest. It was all so novel, so different, that the 
days were not long enough. 

To keep the larder replenished with fish I went out in the boat with 
Edward, Mrs. Fowler s caretaker. I loved to fish, but try as I would, I 
could not put the poor worm on the hook. 

Rod in hand prepared by Edward, I threw the line, and as he gently 
rowed I opened the New York Times. We had taken the precaution of 
having it sent to us, but of course it was a day late. 

In the midst of this tranquility, this peaceful beauty, I read the 
shocking news of riots in Jerusalem. They were especially bad near the 
Damascus Gate, and that was where our School of Handicrafts was 
situated. I drew in my line and went back to camp to show the news 
paper to Frederick. A little later a cable arrived from Jacob asking us 
to return, as there was dissention between Colony members in Jeru 

Our summer holiday was over. Three weeks from that day Fred 
erick and I were back in Jerusalem. We took the constitution draft with 
us, but try as hard as we could we were not able to reconcile the oppos-< 
ing parties. Eleven of the members left the Colony. 

The remaining members went right on with our original plan of 
organization. We incorporated as the American Colony of Jerusalem, 
with an annually elected council which meets once a month or as 
necessity demands. The council reported to the annual meeting of the 
whole Colony, at which meeting the chairman and treasurer were 


On September 26, 1931, the Colony celebrated the fiftieth anni 
versary of its beginning in 1881. There was a Thanksgiving service 
followed by a reception. A large and representative company as 
sembled in the large living room at the American Colony. 

Mr. Corwin Knapp Linson, the well-known artist, had presented 
the Colony with a portrait of Mother. It was an excellent likeness, and 
the portrait was unveiled after the service. 

We reprint, with Dr. Selma Lagerlof s permission on this anniversary 
of the founding of the American Colony in Jerusalem, the address she 
had made to the Universal Christian Conference in Stockholm in 1925, 
in which the Nobel prize winner told of the shipwreck of the Ville du 
Havre, the death of my four sisters, and of Mother dedicating her life 
to God. The speech closed with these words: 

The foundress of the community died ... at the age of eighty-one, 
after having given her entire life to leading and serving the community. 
It has never become powerful and world-encompassing, as she had perhaps 
hoped in the beginning it includes about fifty members. But on her death 
bed she was able to say to herself that the Divine voice had led her aright. 
Unity had surrounded her life like a protecting wall. Sorrow had not been 
absent, but shared by many faithful and sympathetic hearts it had lost its 
bitterness. And the ability to help to lighten others burdens had in 
creased in a wondrous way. She could tell herself that for the former 
poverty-stricken Jerusalem her colony had been a great blessing. She 
could think of bands of Jewish refugees whom her colony had rescued, 
of suffering pilgrims in danger of death to whom they had ministered, 
of the five hundred hungry who had daily been fed. She felt that the people 
who had been trained in the Colony were sincere, pure-hearted, cheerful, 
mild, and happy in serving others. She could rejoice that the assistance of 
America during the war had to a large degree been given through her 

Surely it was far from her thoughts to boast, on her deathbed, of worldly 
success; but nevertheless she considered that God, even in this way, had 
chosen to show that unity was the greatest blessing of human life. The 
Colony now owned a great palace, located not far from the Gate of 
Damascus, as well as six smaller buildings. It owned dromedaries and 
horses, cows and goats, buildings and land, olive and fig trees, shops and 
workrooms. Photographs of Palestine from its 5tudio were sold all over 
the world, and it outfitted caravans which transported travelers far and 
wide in Palestine and Syria. 

Her once so despised colony had become a resting place, a haven of 
peace, in the Holy City. In the evenings people gathered on the terraces 
for prayer and conference, song and music. Thoughts of peace went out 
from this place during the hopeless darkness of the World War. Unity is 
possible, unity can be attained between*the peoples of different nations, 
unity can also reign between the government and the people. . . . 


Let us hear! Let us listen! He whose voice, through the thunders of 
the World War, spoke to us of unity, speaks to us also through the humble 
creation of his lowly servant. "Unity!" she calls to us! Unity between 
Calvinists and Lutherans, unity between Protestants and Greeks, unity 
between Greeks and Catholics, unity between Christians and non-Chris 
tians, unity, unity, unity, between all the peoples of the earth! 

Ten years later, on September 25, 1941, another reception was held 
at the Anna Spafford Baby Nursing Home. I quote from an article 
which appeared in the Palestine Post: 



The sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the American Colony in 
Jerusalem was celebrated at a reception yesterday at the Anna Spafford 
Home which is maintained by the Colony. 

His Excellency the High Commissioner, Lady MacMichael, and Miss 
MacMichael attended, A prayer offered by the Rev. D. S. MacGillivray 
opened the proceedings and Mrs. Vester of the American Colony Com 
mittee spoke. 

Describing the work of the Home for children of the Old City, Mrs. 
Vester recalled the early struggles of the Home and spoke of the work 
done during the Turkish regime and in the last war. She read extracts 
from the diary of her father, Mr. H. C. Spafford, who founded the 
American Colony, and the assembly then sang a hymn written by Mr. 
Spafford in 1873. 

Reports were read by Mrs. W. D, Ward (daughter of Mrs. Vester), 
Mrs. Albert Scott (wife of the American Consul) , Mr. W. H. Chinn, and 
Dr. Kagan. Shukri Eff. Rafass contributed reminiscences of the old days 
of the American Colony and Mr. J. D, Whiting moved a vote of thanks 
to the American Colony Association. After a blessing by Canon Bridge- 
man, the "Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Save the King" were sung, 
and the guests then visited the Home and the Infant Welfare Center. 

Other guests included the American Consul General and Mrs. Pinker- 
ton; the Chief Secretary, Mr* and Mrs. Keith Roach; Lady Flinders Petrie; 
Miss Henrietta Szold; Brigadier Hart; Mr. Justice Frumkin; Mr. Miller; 
Dr. Magnes; Dr. Bernard Joseph; many ecclesiastics; and prominent 
members of all communities. 

When Lord and Lady Allenby came to Jerusalem for the opening of 
the magnificent new Y.M.C.A. in Jerusalem, the gift of Mr. James 
Jarvis of Montclair, New Jersey, the American Colony gave a recep 
tion for him. In introducing His Lordship to the many friends gathered 
to meet him, I told about the days preceding his victorious entry into 
the Holy City. I told about the holy places having been dynamited and 
saved only through his consummate wisdom in allowing the Turks to 
retreat from Jerusalem. 


In response Lord Allenby said: 

You have just listened to Mrs. Vester s thrilling and gallant speech 
spoken, I must say, with great modesty. I hardly know what to say aftei 

I recall the time within these walls when I had the privilege of meeting 
Mrs. Spafford. The important work she and her husband began over fiftj 
years ago has been most loyally carried on by her daughters. America 
has indeed reason to be proud of such citizens as Mrs. Spafford and hei 
two daughters, Mrs. Vester and Mrs. Whiting. 

The important work for the youth of this land which is being done bj 
the American Colony, the care of neglected and badly nourished babies 
the teaching of mothers to care for, clothe, and feed their babies in the 
proper manner, the training of young girls in the simple but most essen 
tial household arts, are a great work, I say, and most nobly done. 


FOR three years preceding World War II a serious Arab revolt 
was carried on against the British policy allowing Jewish immigration 
into Palestine. It began as a country-wide Arab strike which tied up 
transportation and business for six months. This greatly impoverished 
the Arab community. Later the struggle became an armed revolt. Con 
stant guerrilla warfare continued all over the country. To support this, 
Arabs were taxed by their leaders until the country was drained. The 
British Mandatory Government issued passes to anyone traveling from 
town to town, and no one could travel or ride in busses without show 
ing his pass. On the other hand, if the villagers showed their passes, 
they were persecuted by the Arab leaders. Other passes were necessary 
during the frequent periods when curfews were imposed. 

The old custom of travel by donkey- and camel-back was resumed. 
I had some exciting experiences. Once Frederick and I were leaving 
the house when we met at our front door a man of middle age. He had 
a kind expression in his bright brown eyes, his gray beard was trimmed 
round, and he was well dressed. He was the sheik of a village near 
Bethel, which is supposed to be the one where the four hundred vir 
gins were captured by the Benjamites after being nearly blotted out in 
Israel s punishment. 

The sheik begged me to go out in our car to his village and get his 
ten-days-old baby boy whose mother had died in giving it birth. He 
told how the nursing mothers of the village had taken pity on his small 
son and he had been carried from one to another to be fed, but that he 
was not thriving on such irregular feeding. 

He had heard about our Baby Home and had come to beg us to 
have pity on his baby and admit him, which I agreed to do at once. I 
told him to bring the baby along, He then disclosed his inability to do 
so because he was afraid to use his Palestinian pass, and his village was 
too far away to bring the baby on donkeyback. I explained that al 
though we were glad to help him in his need, we expected him to help 
us by paying what he could toward his son s support at the Home. I 
could see that the man was well-to-do by his expensive clothes and \ 
abayah. He told us that he had been rich, and if Allah brought peace 
to this poor land he would be so again; that he had land which he 


tilled, but the insurgents had taken every penny he had of read 
money. He said that to make certain that they had got every last poun 
from him they had put him into one of the ancient egg-shaped cisterr 
which are found all over the hilly country. Many of these are out < 
use, and this was one such. 

The sheik, lowered into the cistern, found that its other occupai 
was a large black snake. He was so frightened that he had given up h 
last penny to the insurgents. 

Frederick and I went out in our car to get the baby. Our trip took i 
through country where the villagers were up in arms and guerrilla figh 
ing against the British was in progress. It was eerie to be in the only a 
on the road. We were sure the hills and valleys were full of armed me 
and unseen eyes were looking at us, although we saw no one. 

We brougjit the baby back to the Home, where he gained and gre^ 
He had not as yet been named, because of the calamity following h 
birth, so I named him Hassain Hashim, after the mayor of Jerusalei 
who had capitulated to the British in 1917. 

At another time we wanted to return a baby whose parents could n< 
come in from the village to get him., for the same reason. We bad] 
needed his bed for other sick babies. Parents were clamoring for ac 
mittance of their infants. This child was well, and there was no reaso 
for keeping him, except that his parents could not travel. I took Mi 
and a nurse and we started on our lonely way. North of Deeroth, whei 
Mary and Joseph missed the child Jesus in their caravan of pilgrirt 
returning to Nazareth from Jerusalem, which then was "a day s jou: 
ney" (it had taken us half an hour in our Ford) , we turned east. \V 
saw a man above us on the rocks pointing a rifle at us. We stoppe 
and he did not shoot, but bounded from rock to rock and stood besic 
the car. He was in khaki uniform with the Bedouin headdress, tt 
kaffiyeh and agal. 

He gruffly asked us who we were and what our business was. M 
knowledge of Arabic, using their own idioms, eased the tension, but 1 
was still uncertain of my story and of allowing us to proceed withoi 
consulting higher authority. 

We promised to remain where we were until he returned, and 1 
made it plain that we had better not try to move. 

Soon several men arrived, all in khaki uniform and Bedouin heac 
dress. One I recognized from posters all over Jerusalem as being Fow 
al Kawakji, leader of the insurgents, who had a price on his head. 

In response to his inquiry I gave him the same answer I had give 
the first man. He was insolent and accused me of being a British sp 
which I had badly covered up by this pretense. I argued that I kne 
many better ways to disguise myself if such had been my mission. 

Although Kawakji is a Syrian, he knew about the American Color 


and its reputation for charitable work. I told him more about our work 
and explained that we had never taken part in politics. He relented in 
his fierce attitude and sent one of his lieutenants along to check up on 
my story. 

We got to Taibeh, and the joy of the parents in receiving their baby 
well and strong was evidence in our favor. They asked us to remain for 
coffee, as oriental hospitality demanded, but I could see they were re 
lieved when we refused. The insurgents were near enough to this vil 
lage to have drained it of all food. On our way back we were met again 
by the bold leader of the insurgents. Evidently he was now convinced 
that I was not a spy. He bade me "Ma? salami [Go in peace]," and said 
he had taken the number of the car and of the engine, and marked the 
color of the car. "Don t change its color," he warned; "wherever that 
car goes it will be safe. Continue your work of mercy and Allah help 
you." I thanked him. I never saw him again. 

Frederick had one sligftt attack of illness in our car as we were re 
turning from a picnic to Kremzan, near Bethlehem, with Consul Gen 
eral and Mrs. George Wadsworth. The doctor kept him in bed for a 
month and after that his work was made lighter. He no longer returned 
to the office in the afternoons unless it was for some necessity. 

But unrest was in the world and it was not conducive to a tranquil 

Hitler had made his appearance on the public scene and a second 
war loomed, dark and menacing, on the world s horizon. 

Once before Frederick had seen Germany turn enemy. He was still a 
German subject, for his efforts to become an American citizen had 
been frustrated by Mother s death. 

Under a regenerated and republic Germany he had been advised by 
our British friends to retain his German nationality. Later there was 
talk about the Anschluss with Austria. A German man-of-war came to 
the Palestinian port of Haifa to take the vote on the subject from all 
German nationals. This happened when I was in the United States. 
Frederick decided he would not do anything on the matter, but the 
German Consul General called him up and threatened that if he did 
not go to Haifa and vote that it might have unpleasant repercussions 
for his sister Baroness von Holbach, who lived in Berlin. He and our 
daughter decided that they would go, but would vote "no." The Pales 
tine Post reported that there were only two negative votes to the 
Anschluss, but, as it was a secret ballot, no one except themselves 
knew who had cast those adverse votes. 

When the Nazi regime grew more vicious, Frederick felt he should 
once again stated against his country. He must become a Palestinian 
citizen, there was no other way open for him. He had thought that be- 


cause of his advanced age no one would bother about him, but the 
cruel threat about the safety of his sister made him realize that age held 
no safety in Nazism. 

Palestinian citizenship was granted to him at once and without hesi 
tation by the British Mandatory. On that awful Sunday when World 
War II started Frederick and I had been to church. After lunch we 
turned on the radio, and, as we had expected, a solemn voice from 
London announced "War has been declared." Then followed the Brit 
ish National Anthem. We both stood. I started to cry and covered my 
eyes, so I did not see what Frederick saw. 

Before the anthem was finished I heard people moving in the room. 
I uncovered my eyes, and, to my horror, a soldier with drawn bayonet 
stood at our library door. What could it mean? Was it some mistake? 

Three British soldiers with drawn bayonets were there to arrest my 

My hat, gloves, and bag were still in the hall, where I had laid them 
after church. I took them and stood by my husband and said they 
would have to arrest me as well. 

"We have no order, mum, to arrest you, only Mr.. Vester," said the 
mystified soldier. 

I answered that they would also have to take me. 

Frederick, who never lost his sense of humor, laughed at my intense 
demand to be arrested and told me he thought I could be of greater 
service if I remained behind. Never shall I forget the anguish of seeing 
my husband taken off by armed soldiers. I called up Government 
House and got the High Commission s aide-de-camp on the telephone, 
and told him what had happened. He reported it to His Excellency and 
the heads of departments, all of whom were at Government House 
holding a meeting. The aide-de-camp came back saying that there 
surely was some mistake, that everyone had confidence in Mr. Vester, 
and he asked me to get in contact with Colonel Kingsley-Heath, who 
was then chief of police for Palestine. We knew Colonel and Mrs. 
Kingsley-Heath well; our two daughters had been their bridesmaids 
when they were married. I tried many times to get the number, and 
each time it would click off. In desperation I called Mr. Stanley Clark^ 
director of Barclay s Bank in Palestine, and Colonel Kingsley-Heath s 

Mr. Clark was horrified when he heard my news, and it was only a 
few minutes before he telephoned back that Frederick was released 
and it had all been a mistake. Colonel Kingsley-Heath had given strict 
instructions that Mr. Vester was to be treated with the same special 
consideration that he had been given in World War I. 

It was all over in less than an hour, but it was a horrible hour one 
I shall never forget. 


On the second of January 1942, we were giving a Christmas party to 
our staff of nurses, doctors, and social workers. Frederick received the 
guests himself. The dining-room table was laden with good things. It 
was to be a "Book Tea," and the young people were in my bedroom 
putting on their costumes, each of which illustrated some well-known 
book. I had gone to the kitchen to let the cook know that we were 
ready for tea and returning to call the party to come to the dining room 
and partake of refreshments, I saw Frederick had fallen on a chair, and 
our youngest daughter, Frieda, who was a trained nurse, was massag 
ing him over his heart. The end was sudden. Frederick never knew he 
was going. We had had thirty-eight perfect years together. 

On the day of the funeral a sleet storm was raging, but many friends 
came, and the house was filled with flowers at a time of the year when 
flowers were hard to get in Jerusalem. 

Tributes to Frederick s kindness came from all parts of the country. 

Some years later I placed a small boy in the Home for Crippled 
Children and after visiting him I took a Jewish taxi to the Red Cross 
Headquarters, some distance away in the German Colony. It was an 
exceptionally cold day, and I remarked to my chauffeur that in my 
more than sixty years* residence in Jerusalem I had never felt such cold 
weather. The Jewish chauffeur turned around and looked at me. 
"Sixty years in Jerusalem? What is your name?" I told him. He asked 
if I was the wife of Mr. Vester. I answered that unfortunately I was his 
widow. Then he said, "I must get out and kiss your hand." I asked for 
an explanation for such extraordinary behavior, and he said, "Your 
husband saved my life and the life of my family." He told me that he 
had come from Austria at the beginning of the Nazi persecution. He 
wanted to run a taxi for his livelihood. One of the American Colony 
business interests was in the automobile business and we represented 
Dodge Brothers at the time. This Austrian Jew came to Frederick and 
asked to be allowed to buy a Dodge sedan car. Frederick asked him 
what guarantee he could give. He honestly told Frederick about his 
predicament and said that he had nothing but his word of honor to 
offer, and he added, "Mr. Vester believed me and I did not fail him." 
Frederick had trusted this man expelled by the Anschluss and enabled 
him to start life afresh in a new country. The chauffeur said he was 
now running two cars profitably. 

The experiences of the American Colony and that of the whole of 
the population of Palestine during World War II were very different 
from World War I. The British Mandatory Government had prices of 
necessities under control and food was rationed. A black market ex 
isted and thrived where one could buy anything for a price. I heard 
that an English lady asked a policeman the way to the black market, 


and he answered, "When you have found it, let me know, I d like to go 
there myself." 

The British Red Cross, under the able chairmanship of Lady Mac- 
Michael, wife of Palestine s High Commissioner, kept everyone busy 
who could give time to it. 

During the war, Jewish and Arab ladies sat at the same table making 
surgical dressings, sewing, or knitting and talking. For the time being 
controversy was buried. 

But the moment war was over the old hatred and trouble flared 
again. Explosions, assassinations, kidnapings became almost every-day 
occurrences. When the sirens sounded two short blasts, the public was 
warned of terrorist activity. All traffic ceased until one long-continued 
blast of the siren announced that danger was over and traffic could be 
resumed. Under such conditions people went out as little as possible. 

Ever since 1929, when the so-called White Paper was issued, which 
was the result of one of the many commissions introducing more lib 
eral terms for the Arabs and checking Jewish immigration into Pales 
tine, the Jewish underground element had grown and spread. The 
southwest wing of the King David Hotel was blown up and more than 
one hundred people lost their lives. The underground and secret radio 
regularly announced where the credit belonged for the last explosion. 

We did little but attend funerals. I was planning to go to the United 
States to assist in raising funds for our work. A few days before my 
departure I received an invitation, for dinner from Government House 
to meet Field Marshal Lord Montgomery. His Excellency s aide-de 
camp, knowing how difficult it was to get taxis, especially at night, said 
he would send Government House s bulletproof car for me. I was 
dressing when a violent explosion took place not far from my house. 
The doors and windows shook, some panes of glass broke. My cook 
came running to me, saying, "Ya Sitt, please do not go out this eve 
ning." She was crying from fear. I assured her that if Government 
House sent the car, that would mean that conditions were safe to go 
out. I sat and waited. I felt like a child who was all dressed up and 
nowhere to go. 

Soon the aide-de-camp called to say that the police would not allow 
anyone to go out. The dinner was off. The field marshal left Palestine 
next morning, and I did not meet him. I had met him some years be 
fore when he was regional commander at Haifa. 

There was little or no recreation or diversion from work during this 
time, and to give our staff a bit of change I accompanied them to 
Christ Church in the old city opposite the citadel on the steps of which 
Lord Allenby had read the proclamation restoring hope in the hearts of 
the people and peace in the land. How sad has been the muddle that 
followed that glorious victory! The rendition by Dorothy Sears depict- 


ing the crucifixion of our Lord was to be broadcast. The wording of 
the King James s version was used as nearly as possible but spoken by 
different people. I had expected that many would avail themselves of 
this opportunity and the church might be crowded, so we went early, 
but the church was nearly empty. 

When the part came where the crowd cried "Crucify Him, crucify 
Him," the sirens blared out the warning of terrorist activity. We 
waited, tense with fear and expectation, for the sound of an explosion, 
but none came. The broadcast went on, but it was so realistic that we 
sat and shivered and with difficulty kept back the tears. It ended, and 
still we waited for the "all clear," which finally sounded. 

What happened we found out later. A mysterious suitcase left by the 
terrorists had been found in Government Hospital where the majority 
of patients were Arabs. There is also a British section. All the patients 
had to be removed. Newly delivered babies and expectant mothers, 
cancer cases as well as fractures and the dangerously sick, all were 
moved to the garden before the engineers undertook to examine the 
mysterious suitcase. Nothing was found in it but some heavy bits of 
iron and old shoes. 

This form of war of nerves continued with greater ingenuity and 
frequency. A telephone message would be received at the post office or 
Barclay s Bank or any of the government offices that a time bomb had 
been placed, and this message was to give them time to remove the per 
sonnel. Frequently no bomb was found after a thorough search took 
place, but the authorities could not ignore such warnings. 

Personnel got so nervous and jittery that work was almost at a 
standstill. Any drastic measure by police or government to stop this 
was met by a volley of abuse against the harsh treatment of the Manda 
tory Government. 

In January 1947 I was on my way to the United States. I had been 
on the Mediterranean two days, in a small British orange transport, 
when we heard over the radio about "Operation Polly": all British 
women and children were to leave Palestine at once. 

Among them, I knew, was my youngest daughter, Frieda. She had 
completed her nurses course in the Presbyterian Hospital in New York 
and returned to Palestine to take charge of my Baby Hospital, and had 
married an Englishman, Mr. William Ward of Barclay s Bank. 

In London I received more complete news. Frieda, with her three 
children, one a baby of a few months, had gone to Cyprus. Her hus 
band remained in Jerusalem. 

All government offices were barricaded with barbed wire, I learned. 
Certain streets were shut to traffic. 

Jerusalem was a city besieged by unknown assailants. 


I RETURNED to Palestine from the United States, where I had 
been speaking in behalf of our charitable work in August 1947, 1 could 
not get passage by sea from England to Palestine, passenger traffic was 
almost cut off, so I flew. I was met at Lydda airport by my brother-in- 
law, and we followed a guarded convoy of vehicles to Jerusalem with 
out incident. Conditions had grown more tense in Palestine in the few 
months that I had been away. Explosions were an every-day occur 

After two explosions outside the Damascus Gate, I picked up a 
basket of shrapnel blown over the city wall into Hie grounds of the 
Anna Spafford Baby Nursing Home. 

Our two Lebanese (Armenian) nurses resigned. Their families 
would no longer allow them to remain in Palestine. On this account I 
had to close the Anna Spafford Baby Nursing Home. A few weeks 
after this the Deir Yaseen massacre took place. 

I found a trained nurse and opened the Baby Home and took in 
forty orphans and half orphans. One little boy between the age of three 
and four, when he saw me, screamed out, "Is she one of them?" and 
fell in a faint. When we tried to revive him, we found he had actually 
died of fright. 

The Baby Home and Infant Welfare Center, situated on the highest 
part of the old city, were hit many times by bullets and mortars. Sev 
eral children and adults were killed in the vicinity. The wards on the 
western side had to be vacated, and twenty of our babies were moved 
to a safer place, although no place was really safe. The infant welfare 
work, with the nurses and doctors, moved to the old British center in 
a more protected part of the old city. 

Going to the hospital in the mornings I ran zigzag to avoid bullets. 

In spite of bombs and bullets, the work continued. The Infant Wel 
fare Center was enlarged to serve all sick people, regardless of age or 

Our playground, where between five and six thousand children a 
month used to play, was occupied by Arab Legionnaires. They were 
repulsing attacks on the old city from Haganah troops in the Notre 


Dame de France. The merry sound of children s voices was replaced 
by machine-gun and mortar shots. 

The American Colony residence was in the heat of battle, occupying 
as it does a strategical position on the Nablus Road, which Haganah 
was determined to get and the Arabs just as determined to keep. John 
Whiting was shot in the leg, but it was only a flesh wound. One of the 
ladies of the Colony was also shot, but not seriously, and three of our 
.servants were wounded. Archdeacon Maclnnes was accompanying his 
wife Dr. Joy Maclnnes to our center when his leg was broken by a shot 
at our gate. 

Early in 1948 Mr. Fred Meyers, one of the older members of the 
American Colony, died, in his eighty-third year. We made the funeral 
arrangements with doubts of how we would be able to carry them out. 
Our private cemetery is on the western slope of Mount Scopus, just 
below the Hadassah Hospital, which was occupied by the Haganah 
forces. We ordered the hearse and three cars to come to the American 
Colony at three-thirty in the afternoon. 

The morning of the funeral I went to the office of the Moslem 
Brotherhood, about a hundred yards from our Colony, and told them 
we were holding a funeral that afternoon for one of our members. I 
asked them please not to shoot during the funeral, and they promised 
not to. I called up Dr. Judah Magnes and told him what I had done, 
and he, in his turn, promised to do his best to have a "cease fire" 

All that morning the gravediggers at the cemetery on Mount Scopus 
were protected by British police. 

The funeral service was held in our open court, amid palms and 
flowering shrubs, ivy geraniums, ferns, and other potted plants. Mr. 
A. L. Miller, general secretary of the Y.M.C.A., crossed the city at 
great risk to conduct the funeral service, for stray bullets whistled in 
the streets. 

In the midst of the service I was called to the telephone. The clerk 
in the motor office, said not one of the drivers was willing to risk his 
life by driving to the cemetery in the shadow of Hadassah Hospital. I 
told him I had the promise from both sides that they would respect the 
"cease fire" during the funeral, but he said no argument could persuade 

I telephoned Mr. Wasson, our Consul General, and he tried every 
means to persuade some driver to convey the coffin to our cemetery, 
but failed. 

A police truck with eight police was waiting to accompany the fu 
neral procession to the cemetery. We asked permission for the casket 
to be taken on the truck. The police were sympathetic and wished to 
help but could not allow our coffin on their truck without permission 


from headquarters. I tried to get the head of police on the telephone 
but could not reach him. 

We were in a quandary. Just then two Englishmen employed by a 
chain grocery drove up the Colony driveway in their grocery delivery 
van. They came from Haifa and hoped to stay in our hostel. My sister 
met them and told them of our predicament. 

"Won t you allow the coffin to be taken to the cemetery in your 
van?" Grace asked. 

The poor men were dumfounded. "You know, we carry food in 
-this van!" one protested. But when Grace explained the situation he 
consented to take the coffin and drive the van himself. 

Finally the sad little procession started. The grocery van with the 
coffin inside led the way, with our English friend driving and my 
brother-in-law beside him on the driver s seat, and behind it followed 
the police car with the eight policemen. We watched anxiously from 
the windows of the American Colony to see if they reached the ceme 
tery on the hill in safety. 

Not a bullet was fired from either side as Mr. Meyer s coffin was car 
ried to Mount Scopus. It was lowered into the earth, the grave filled in, 
and the procession returned safely to a still-silent Jerusalem. 

Some time after this a Swedish lady who lived on the slope of the 
Mount of Olives was shot dead while on her way to church. We had 
promised to give her space in our cemetery if anything happened to 
her. She was a robust person, and we had not thought of any such 
emergency in the peaceful times when that promise had been made. 
This time we did not even attempt to take the body to the cemetery but 
buried our friend temporarily in the grounds of the American Colony. 

After the Deir Yaseen massacre the Arabs became frantic and on 
April 13 attacked a convoy going to the Hadassah Hospital. The road 
passes the American Colony and about one hundred and fifty insur 
gents, armed with weapons varying from blunderbusses and old flint 
locks to modern Sten and Bren guns, took cover offered them by a 
cactus patch in the grounds of the American Colony. Their faces were 
distorted by hate and the lust for revenge. They were blind and deaf 
and fearless; only one obsession dominated them. I went out and faced 
them. I said the American Colony had served them for more than sixty 
years. Was this our reward? I told them that it was as though they were 
shooting from a mosque or a church to shoot from the American 
Colony. The American Colony had never taken sides or entered into 

Some of the men. listened for a minute and then threatened to shoot 
me if I did not go away. I said, "Shoot me if you want to, but I must 
protest against your using the grounds of the American Colony as a 


cover." They did not shoot me, but they did not desist from attacking 
the convoy. I then went to the Moslem Higher Committee and pro 
tested to Dr. Ahmed Khalidi, the vice-chairman. He asked what we 
would do if Haganah used our grounds, and I said that I would protest 
in the same manner. Both Dr. Khalidi and his wife had been our pu 
pils. I was like the importunate widow of the Bible. I did not leave 
until I had the promise from Dr. Khalidi that he would use his influ 
ence to enable the American Colony to remain neutral. 

One night the fighting was continuous and the mortar bombs and 
bullets crashed without ceasing over the Colony. We could hear the 
impact as they struck our walls, and kept as far as possible from the 
windows. I had finally gone to sleep, in the early hours of the morning, 
when a particularly loud crash woke me. The Colony had been struck, 
but where? It was still dark, bullets still flying, and it was madness to 
go out. I could not sleep, and I knew that not one of the other mem 
bers of the Colony was asleep either. I opened the door to go to my 
sister s flat but shut it at once, because a bullet hit the wall near by. 

I put on my dressing gown and tried to read. I could not concen 
trate, so I played Chinese checkers by myself, taking one side with all 
the rest against me. I played until the sun rose over Mount Olivet, 
bringing the new day and all it might hold. Then I dressed and went 
across to the "main house" to see what damage had been done. 

What destruction met me! But at the same time I felt a sense of 
gratitude. It could have been so much worse. A mortar bomb had 
luckily come down into the open court, exploded, and dropped inside 
the cistern! The palm tree in the corner of the court was crushed and 
the flowering plants and shrubs were uprooted and damaged beyond all 
hope. Smashed flowerpots and heaped earth covered the court a foot 
deep. The palm had been a pot plant given to Frederick and me as a 
wedding present from Baron and Baroness Ustinov. 

How thankful we were the bomb had not struck the tile roof of the 
big salon, with its beautiful antique Damascene ceiling, a unique piece 
of hand painting, with its gilding of real gold leaf. 

How much more thankful we were that no one in the Colony was 

Our electric current, telephone, and municipal water supply had 
been cut. Fortunately we had been warned to have our cisterns cleaned 
and filled. The American Colony residence, being an old house, had 
five large cisterns, and these were all well filled with rain water col 
lected during the rainy season a few months previous. The one in the 
court was the best of the lot, and it not only held the exploded bomb, 
but, we realized with dawning apprehension, our penicillin and anti 
typhoid serum supply. 


My brother-in-law s wound had caused him much trouble, and we 
thought penicillin would help. Hannieh, our faithful retainer, had 
risked his life to bring the penicillin from the Arab hospital in the old 
city. We had given it to John with much benefit, but the remainder was 
difficult to keep without refrigeration. Ice was unobtainable and our 
frigidaire was not working. John had suggested that we put the peni 
cillin in a bucket and lower it down into the cistern, where it would 
keep cool. 

Also in the bucket was the residue of our serum, for there had been 
a typhoid scare and we had all been inoculated. All this was now in our 
best cistern with the bomb. 

The penicillin ampules had not broken. They were light and floated, 
and we saw them on the surface of the water and fished them out. But 
the typhoid-serum phials were heavy and had sunk, and we were afraid 
that six meters of excellent drinking water had been contaminated. 

The doctor at the Arab Hospital heard of the strafing the Colony 
had taken all night and came out to see if we needed help. We were 
happy to be able to tell him no one was hurt, but we also told him our 
anxiety over our water supply. He put our minds at rest. The serum 
was sterile and would cause no trouble. 

Shortly before the British officials left Palestine I went to Govern 
ment House to lunch to bid Sir Alan Cunningham good-by. He was the 
last British High Commissioner, and again the bulletproof car was sent 
for me. I could not have gone otherwise. Taxis were not running. How 
sad I was to see the British leave Palestine. I know about the mistakes 
that have been made, but I ask which government could have done a 
better job? 

The day I left Government House after bidding the last British High 
Commissioner good-by, I went directly to the office of Mr. Wasson, the 
Consul General of the United States. It seemed to me something must 
be done to enable us to aid the Jerusalem wounded, no matter on 
which side they might be. I asked Mr. Wasson to help us in getting 
authority from the international Red Cross to open a casualty clearing 
station in the Colony s big dining room. 

Mr. Wasson was delighted with the idea and promised to help. After 
my conversation with him I left the Consulate General by the same 
path in which, a few days later, Mr. Wasson was shot and killed by 
snipers. With much difficulty I succeeded in getting a taxi to take me 
home to the American Colony. 

When we got within five hundred yards of my house there was a 
sharp battle raging in the street and my chauffeur turned deathly pale 
with fright. I paid him, and he hastily drove away. I started out on 
foot, but was obliged to take temporary shelter in a house belonging to 


an Armenian who manufactured what we call Jerusalem glazed pot 
tery. The men of the family and some helpers were barricading the 
entrance with sandbags. 

I went a few steps farther along the Nablus Road but had to stop be 
cause the bullets were flying so near. In the entrance of a friend s house 
who had long since left Jerusalem for a safer place I waited for an 
other half -hour. It seemed quieter and I rushed onto the main entrance 
of Saint George s Close. There I found Bishop and Mrs. Stewart, who 
were seeing off the chaplain of Christ Church, who had been detained 
by the battle. They invited me in to tea, which I gladly accepted, and 
waited there until the battle abated. They let me through their back 
door to a breach in the wall we had made for a safer passage between 
the American Colony and Saint George s Close. 

When I got home I found my sister and the others had worried 
about me. I had left before lunch to go to Government House and now 
the sun was setting. 

Battle continued in and about Jerusalem, but now the flag of the 
Red Cross flew over the buildings of the American Colony. In our hos 
pital, where tracer bullets lit the corridors by night, our doctors worked 
in darkness and under fire. More than seventeen thousand casualty 
cases, many of them redressings, and many sick people, were treated 
there since May 1948. 

Much of this book has been written in a room where sniper bullets 
at intervals struck the outer walls. 

For almost seventy years the American Colony has served Jerusa 
lem. It has kept its doors open to all who came; housed the homeless, 
fed the hungry, cared for the ill. It has never taken sides in political or 
religious issues. From its beginning it has been the meeting place and 
refuge of Christian, Moslem, and Jew. 

I believe the faith that built it will serve it to carry on. In acting as its 
chairman I have but perpetuated the tradition of my father and mother, 
who built the American Colony out of their own spiritual need against 
intolerance and despair. This enables one to understand both sides of 
the problem completely dominating two peoples on opposite sides of a 
burning conflict in a city that has held the faith of many. 

As I write this Jerusalem is still in sporadic conflict. Under its Red 
Cross flag our hospital stands over the ancient wall, and beyond, on the 
Damascus Road, the American Colony residence and hostel buildings, 
windowless and ravaged by bombs, shelter those remaining members 
of the Colony that founded itself on faith in the Holy City. 

It is my earnest hope that the American Colony which has spanned 
nearly seven decades of Jerusalem s life, under the Turkish Empire, the 
British military occupation, the British Mandate, and now, after the 


civil war, may still be instrumental in upholding the way to peace and 

The long view of history reminds us that this is but a short though 
momentous period in the history of the city which has in the past four 
thousand years suffered half-a-hundred sieges by almost as many dif 
ferent nations. 

Jerusalem has ever been sacred to Christians, Moslems, and Jews, 
and holds a place in the religious life of these peoples all over the 
world. Thither scores of thousands come annually as pilgrims. 

Greater Jerusalem, including Bethlehem, should be made an inter 
national trust, where each and all may feel equally at home and share 
in a common endeavor. 

The immediate future is clouded. 

Human passions inflamed by nationalism and religious bigotry are 
still high. But I feel confident that if external peace is enforced on a 
just basis the heavenly peace will again descend into the souls of men, 
and the true holiness of the world s holiest city will again be manifest.